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Sleeping man wakes up to drug charges

[SN file photo]

A man who was found sleeping at a bus stop in Tafuna last week is facing drug charges, after police allegedly found drugs and paraphernalia in his possession, when they approached him to wake him up.

Faaili Mata’u, a.k.a ‘Whistle" is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance — methamphetamine and marijuana — both felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years, and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000 or both, for each count.

Mata’u waived his right to a preliminary examination hearing, and his case has been bound over to the High Court where he will be arraigned this morning.

Prosecuting the case is Christy Dunn while Deputy Public Defender Michael White is representing Mata’u, who is still in custody unable to post a $5,000 surety bond.

According to the government’s case, two police officers were patrolling near the Tafuna area on Oct. 29, at 4:40 a.m. when they observed a man sleeping at one of the bus stops in the area. Police approached the male to check if he was intoxicated or in need of assistance. The unknown man was later identified as Mata'u.

Court documents state that police officers noticed the sleeping man was holding a small green container in his right hand, while his left hand was not visible.

One of the cops woke Mata'u up and when he stood up, police officers observed a knife on the bus stop, which had been concealed by Mata'u's back while he was sleeping.

The defendant immediately grabbed the knife with his left hand.

He was asked by police officers to discard the knife, but he did not comply.

One of the cops proceeded to remove the knife from the defendant, and when asked what he was holding, Mata'u replied, “I don’t know. I found it on the ground.”

When police asked if they could look inside the green container, Mata'u agreed. The cops observed that the bottom of the container appeared to have orange/ reddish rolling papers (commonly used for hand rolled cigarettes).

The police officer opened the container and observed what appeared to be clear plastic baggies containing what appeared to be crystalline substance inside. A small hand rolled cigarette (roach), which appeared to have been smoked was also observed inside the container along with the rolling paper. When asked about the items found inside the container, Mata'u did not respond.

The cops then emptied the container and allegedly found various items including 4 plastic baggies with white powder-like residue; 1 1/4 clear plastic baggie white powder-like residue; 1 small baggie containing crystalline substance; 1 medium clear plastic baggie with powder-like residue; 1 medium plastic baggie containing crystalline substance; 1 MC orange rolling paper, and 1 hand rolled cigarette.

A body search of Mata'u allegedly netted a clear blue tip pipe with a bulb inside his right pocket. The glass pipe contained what appeared to be white powder-like residue. Inside the defendant's left pant pocket, cops allegedly found a small clear container with what appeared to be a green leafy substance.

The defendant didn't have an answer for police, when they inquired about the items that were discovered in his possession.

He also refused to provide a written statement for police.

Officials from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit tested the items found at the scene, which came back positive for both methamphetamine and marijuana.