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Alleged speeder charged with drug and weapons offenses

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle that was pulled over by police officers during a traffic stop in Nuuuli last month was arrested and taken into custody after police allegedly discovered drugs inside his vehicle.

On June 27th, 2020 about 3:35a.m, two officers patrolling the Nuuuli area stopped a vehicle for speeding. Officers approached the driver of the vehicle and informed him about the reason why his vehicle was stopped. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Prince Gasio, the defendant in this case.

According to the officers’ verbal statement to investigators, as they spoke with Gasio they observed a glass pipe (commonly used to smoke marijuana) in the driver’s seat door compartment. The officers immediately detained Gasio and impounded his vehicle at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.

Officers also conducted an inventory search of the vehicle. During the search, Gasio volunteered to the officers that there was a firearm and ammunition inside his vehicle. Officers discovered a .30 caliber rifle and three WW.30 caliber bullets.

Further, officers discovered another glass pipe in the center console with a usable amount of white crystalline substance inside.

The inventory search continued and officers also discovered half a hand rolled marijuana joint under the driver’s seat. The arresting police officers seized two glass pipes containing white crystalline substance and half a hand rolled marijuana joint and later referred all the evidence to Vice & Narcotics detectives for further investigation.

Detectives interviewed Gasio after advising him of his rights. Gasio stated that he understood his constitutional rights and wished to remain silent and refused to make a statement.

Testing of all substances revealed positive results for methamphetamine and marijuana.

Gasio made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He’s representing by Assistant Public Defender, Bob Stuart while Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey is prosecuting the case.

Gasio is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony 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 note more than $20,000, or both; and one count of possession of unlicensed arms, a class A misdemeanor publishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.

During his initial appearance, Gasio exercised his right to a preliminary examination (PX), which is now set for Thursday this week, July 9th at 1p.m.