Samoa man convicted of drug charges deported from Pago


A man convicted of drug possession in American Samoa has been sentenced to probation after serving 12 months of his 5-year sentence, and he will be deported back to Samoa. 

Malaki Tanumaleu appeared in court last week for sentencing, initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana; however, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Tanumaleu pleaded guilty to an amended charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a class D felony.

Samoa News reported, that Tanumaleu admits that he had marijuana at his plantation in Futiga when police searched his home.

During sentencing, Tanumaleu apologized for breaking the law. He said the 9 months and 2 weeks spent in jail have taught him a lesson and that using drugs is not only illegal but also not good for a person like him who came to the territory in search of a good future for his family.

He pleaded with the court for another chance to return home to find another job to care for his elderly parents, who depend on him financially. 

Tanumaleu told the court he comes from a poor family who only depends on a plantation to survive.

“I came here to earn a good living for my parents, but it’s sad to see how things ended up like this. What I did was wrong, and I assure the court that if I am given another chance, I will never be in this courtroom again,” said Tanumaleu

Both parties asked for a probated sentence, under the condition that Tanumaleu depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation, due to his illegal immigration status.

The court sentenced Tanumaleu to 5 years at the TCF and a $5,000 fine. 

Execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for the duration of detention under certain conditions.

Tanumaleu is to serve 12 months, and the balance has stayed on the condition that he depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation. He is credited with the time he has served in pretrial confinement.