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Woman faces drug related charges after she was pulled over for a traffic violation

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman who was pulled over for a traffic violation ended up being arrested and is now criminally charged after police allegedly found paraphernalia in the vehicle, and ‘ice’ in her pocket.

Lili Apolo made her initial appearance in District Court this past Monday, where Judge Sunia established bail at $5,000

Apolo appeared in court again yesterday, and her preliminary examination is continued to Jan. 22

According to the government's case, Apolo was pulled over by police because the light on her license plate was not on, and her turn signal wasn't flashing when she turned on to Vaitogi Road last Friday, Jan. 11.

When an officer approached Apolo to ask for her driver's license, Apolo allegedly said she didn't have her license on her, neither did she have any other form of identification. While speaking to Apolo, the officer said he noticed a cut-up straw — "commonly used to scoop meth" — on the back seat of the vehicle.

The cop said he took photos of the paraphernalia and informed Apolo of what he saw.

According to the criminal complaint, Apolo's mood changed, and she pleaded to go home after she realized that police were on to something.

One of the officers drove Apolo's vehicle — while she rode in the passenger seat — to the Tafuna Substation where Apolo was informed that the vehicle was being impounded until someone with a valid driver's license comes by to claim it.

An inventory of the vehicle was conducted in Apolo's presence, according to the court affidavit. The search netted a stamp-sized baggie with a small amount of a crystalline substance — which later tested positive as meth — on the floor of the back seat, on the driver's side.

Apolo told police she had no knowledge of the baggie and its contents.

But a similar baggie - also containing a crystalline substance that later tested positive as meth — was found on Apolo during a body search.

The criminal complaint said Apolo was "shaking" and "nervous".

In her statement, Apolo, a mother of five, allegedly admitted to police that she started smoking ice four months ago, as it "gives her strength to do her chores at home."

She further told police that she doesn't own a pipe — she usually borrows one from a friend in  Vaitogi — and the baggie they found on her was also from a friend.

Samoa News understands that the Immigration Office is having a hard time trying to locate a file for Apolo, whose driver's license expired years ago. There is no confirmation that her ID was ever renewed, as she has failed to provide proof of such.