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Bus driver who pled guilty to meth possession will be sentenced in October

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old bus driver who was charged for unlawful possession of a glass pipe containing meth after his vehicle was pulled over by police in May of this year has entered a guilty plea in court.

Tanielu Lelevaga, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.

He was represented by Assistant Public Defendant Rob McNeill, while prosecuting  was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Lelevaga was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by 5-10 years in jail, and a fine of $5,000- $20,000 or both.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Lelevaga pled guilty to the amended charge unlawful possession methamphetamine. With his guilty plea, Lelevaga admits that on Sept. 18, 2018 he had on him a glass pipe containing meth, along with one small stamp-sized baggie also containing meth.

On that day, according to the plea agreement, a man called the Tafuna Substation to report something he noticed while riding on a bus from Vaitogi to Nuuuli.

According to the man, he saw another man give something to the bus driver and in return, the bus driver gave the man $20.

The driver was later identified as Lelevaga.

Police located Lelevaga’s bus in Fagaalu and immediately pulled him over.

The passengers who were on the bus were advised by police to find another ride because they needed to speak to the driver.

After a brief conversation with police, Lelevaga agreed to a body search and a search of his vehicle. A glass pipe and one small stamp-sized baggie, both containing meth, were discovered inside the left pocket of Lelevaga’s pants.

Lelevaga told police he bought the drugs from a man named “Spunky” for $20 on his way to town. He further told police that he buys drugs from Spunky, once a week.

The white crystalline substance inside the glass pipe turned positive for meth.

Sentencing is set for October 11, 2019.