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Another drug defendant claims he bought his ‘stuff’ at Le Filifili

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 55-year-old man who was arrested during a traffic stop two weeks ago is now charged with violating local drug laws when illegal drugs were allegedly found in his possession. The man, Saunoa Elise told police that he bought drugs from the area called “Le Filifili” for his own personal use.

Elise made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago.

His bail is set at $5,000 surety bond.

Elise is now charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of meth, both unclassified 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.


According to the government’s case, it was on Dec. 19 while three police officers were patrolling in Leone heading west, they observed an oncoming vehicle being driven recklessly. Officers turned around and proceeded to chase after the vehicle, which turned into a business’ parking lot area in Leone.

Officers arrived and observed the driver standing outside of his vehicle acting as if he was trying to fix it. Police approached the driver who identified himself to police officers as Saunoa Elise the defendant in this matter.

He was found to not have a driver’s license or other photo ID in his possession. Officers then ran Elise’s name through the driver’s license system that resulted in no record found in the name given by the defendant.

Officers informed the defendant of the discovery, but Elise argued that he had a driver’s license. Officers then informed Elise that the vehicle would be impounded because he was operating it without a driver’s license. The driver continued to argue with the officers, while walking to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

It was at that time when officers observed the defendant reach inside his vehicle, grab a small black bag and a cell phone. The officers clearly observed the defendant reach into his pocket and then toss something away from him. The officers discovered that the item tossed out by Elise was a small baggie.

When the two officers attempted to arrest the defendant, the defendant resisted.

The officers then called for backup and were able to place the defendant under arrest and transport him to the TPS for questioning. The matter was transferred to investigators from the DPS Vice and Narcotic Unit to handle.

The small baggie the defendant allegedly threw on the ground contained a white crystalline substance, and during a body search of the defendant, one hand rolled cigarette was found inside his left pocket.

The white crystalline substance was tested and was positive for meth, while the green leafy substance in the rolled cigarette tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

When questioned about the illegal drugs found in his possession, the defendant immediately confessed to investigators and stated that the meth and marijuana belonged to him, and that he had purchased it from an unknown man in the area called Logotala Hill, a.k.a “Le Filifili”.

The defendant further stated to police that he often purchased meth and marijuana from Logotala Hill but never got more than $50 worth at a time.