12 Mar 2014

American Samoan freed after 3 years in custody

2:53 pm on 12 March 2014

A jury at a federal court in Honolulu has acquitted an American Samoan man who was arrested in Pago Pago nearly 3 years ago and charged with involvement in what federal prosecutors called a major methamphetamine ring.

Kaisa Tai, who has been in custody since June 2011, was acquitted after two weeks of deliberation and immediately released.

Hawai'i media quotes Mr. Tai saying freedom is always something a person holds on to dearly.

He had always maintained his innocence and refused a plea bargain offered by the federal government last year.

In all 19 people were initially charged in the case, with 3 going to trial and others, including two of Mr Tai's brothers accepting plea agreements.