Police arrest former Customs agent for 7lbs of weed that came through the mail
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man whose name appeared on a package that was sent through the Post Office last month in which Customs agents found marijuana, was arrested by police last week.
Fiatupu Tavai, a former Customs agent is being charged with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), with intent to distribute.
The charge against Tavai stems from an incident that occurred at the Post Office on Apr. 6th, where 7lbs of weed was found in a box allegedly belonging to Logona Tigilau - another former Customs agent - but was shipped though Tavai’s mailbox.
(Tigilau, who is Tavai's uncle, was arrested last month and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute).
Tavai made his initial appearance last week before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michael White said they want to move forward with a preliminary examination (PX) hearing, which is set for Thursday this week at 1 p.m.
Judge Sunia established a $5,000 bail for Tavai under certain conditions that include being a law-abiding citizen, remaining alcohol and drug free, and not communicating with government witnesses, including his uncle, Tigilau, his co-defendant in this case.
According to the court affidavit, the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit was contacted by a Customs K9 officer on Apr. 6th regarding a package that Customs canine Benny alerted to during a routine inspection at the Post Office.
The parcel, addressed to Tavai, allegedly "contained two large clear bags containing what appeared to be green leafy substances," according to the court affidavit, which further states that Tavai allegedly told Customs officers that the box belonged to Tigilau, who picked him up and drove him to the Post Office to claim the shipment.
The green leafy substance tested positive for marijuana.
The court affidavit notes that Tigilau was standing next to Tavai when the contents of the parcel were laid out and Tigilau allegedly attempted to place the bags back into the box and take off with it. When told that neither the box nor Tavai could leave the Post Office, Tigilau allegedly admitted that the box was a transit from Apia, and it belonged to him.
According to the court affidavit, Tigilau tried to talk the Customs agent into letting him go, saying he "won't do it again."
A police search of Tigilau's vehicle allegedly uncovered a black pouch Tigilau denied any knowledge of. The pouch allegedly contained a clear glass pipe with what appeared to be a white crystalline substance and “Zigzag” rolling papers, which Tigilau said belonged to his cousin. The white substance tested positive for meth.
When questioned by police, Tavai said Tigilau approached him two weeks earlier at his home in Vailoa to ask if he could use his post office box to receive a parcel, but the contents of the package were never disclosed.
Tavai told police he saw a glass pipe containing a white substance inside Tigilau's truck when they were heading to the Post Office that day.