Drugs are found in a rental vehicle and the female driver is charged
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 20-year-old female who was driving a rental car that was pulled over by police on Sunday is being criminally charged, after illegal drugs were allegedly discovered by officers inside the vehicle.
Olotele Pouesi, also known as Julia, appeared in District Court Tuesday this week for a traffic citation, where she was ordered by Judge Fiti Sunia to re-appear in court the following morning, (which was yesterday), for a Status Hearing on the traffic citation.
When Pouesi appeared in court yesterday, she was immediately served with an arrest warrant, which included the affidavit of support and two felony charges against her.
Pouesi made her initial appearance before Judge Sunia yesterday morning. She is represented by Assistant Public Defender Anna Wells while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Pouesi is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana - both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $20,000.
Judge Sunia established Pouesi’s bond at $5,000.
If she posts bond, the court has ordered the usual conditions, including making all her court appearances, surrendering her travel documents to the government’s attorney, and not to make any direct or indirect contact with all the government’s witnesses.
Pouesi is scheduled to appear in court today for a Status Hearing.
The government claims that on Nov. 11, 2018 around 6 p.m, detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit received information regarding a person named Tautua Letasi, also known as Fiti, with an active arrest warrant under his name, possibly riding in a white rental unit.
Said vehicle was spotted an hour later in Pago Pago, heading westbound.
Cops who were patrolling in the area stopped the suspected vehicle to confirm if Letasi was actually inside.
When cops approached the vehicle, they spoke to the driver, later identified as Olotele, the defendant in this case.
Letasi was not inside the vehicle. Instead, there were two females. Cops further discovered that Olotele is not a licensed driver. The passenger (later identified as Julie Uiese) also did not have a driver's license.
Both females were then informed by detectives that the vehicle had to be impounded at the DPS Central Station because neither of them had a valid driver's license. Both females and the vehicle were escorted to the Central station.
While there, Pouesi was informed that the vehicle was to be parked at the police station until the owner comes in to claim it. It was then that Pouesi allegedly whispered to one of the detectives that she had weed (marijuana) inside the vehicle.
An inventory of the vehicle was conducted and tubes of COD and phosphate were found inside a container in the trunk of the vehicle. Cops also found one rolled up joint inside a black wallet along with a small stamp sized baggie containing a crystalline substance.
A glass pipe containing a crystalline substance was also found inside a gray purse that was inside the vehicle. The green leafy substance that was inside the joint tested positive for marijuana and the crystalline substance from the small stamp sized baggie and the glass pipe tested positive for meth.
Later that same night, Pouesi agreed to make a statement. During the interview with investigators, Pouesi said the marijuana joint belonged to her but she did not know where the glass pipe and baggie came from.
She changed her story a few times but denied that she had any knowledge of the stamp sized baggie and glass pipe.
The passenger refused to make any statement.
Both Pouesi and Uiese were booked and later transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to await their initial appearances in court.
Both Pouesi and Uiese appeared in court Tuesday morning; however, Uiese’s name was never called, only Pouesi.
Uiese was released after court proceedings that day.
Samoa News points out that this case started from an incident where police searched for a 21-year-old female who was allegedly kidnapped by a man with a rental vehicle last week.
The search for the missing female ended when police arrested two males and later charged them for unlawful possession of illegal drugs.