Customs agent sentenced to 20 months in jail

Customs agent Titifaleula Siaumau is to serve 20 months in jail for the importation of marijuana that was hidden in a speaker last March.

After six months the court will entertain work release for the 22 year old defendant provided he gets a job.

However Chief Justice Michael Kruse said he is not to be employed by customs or Homeland Security.

The Chief Justice, assisted by Judge Faamausili Pomele, handed down a five year sentence and a $5 ,000 fine for Siaumau, but the jail term was suspended, and the defendant was placed on probation for five years.

But first he must serve 20 months behind bars, without release.

Siaumau has been in custody for four months.

The Chief Justice raised with the prosecutor and defense attorneys information contained in the pre sentence report and said there is more to the case than meets the eye.

Siaumau admitted in a plea agreement with the government that he had arranged for an employee of CSL to help clear a package from Hawaii which arrived via Hawaiian Air and was taken to the cargo warehouse.

The package contained a speaker which was scanned and later searched by customs agents, who discovered baggies of marijuana hidden in the speaker.

The speaker was brought to court this morning.

All of the marijuana had been sent to the DEA lab in California for testing.

In response to Kruse’s questions about whether a scanner is used at the freight handling facility, the prosecutor Christy Dunne said she had spoken with the Chief of Customs, Keith Gebauer who said that a mobile scanner is used at the cargo facility to scan all packages.

Gebauer told her that in this case, the scanner detected the substance and later a customs canine also alerted near the package.

Kruse asked the prosecutor if what she was reciting from the Customs official was a factual or normative statement, the latter meaning what out to happen.

The chief justice said he wanted someone to testify on the scanning operations under oath.