Court hears marijuana cases
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested two weeks ago after police found 5 hand rolled marijuana cigarettes inside his vehicle during a routine traffic stop after he was observed not wearing a seatbelt.
Lomiga Savea, who is on probation for a drug conviction 4 years ago made his initial appearance in court this week. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony.
Bail is set at $5,000 surety bond and Savea’s attorney informed the court that his client wishes to exercise his constitutional rights to a preliminary examination (PX), which is now set for next Tuesday, Feb. 2nd.
On the night of Jan. 8th, the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit was contacted after traffic cops allegedly found drugs in a vehicle that was pulled over in front of a Tafuna store, for a traffic violation. According to officers, the driver of the truck was not wearing his seatbelt.
Officers approached the driver who was later identified as Savea, the defendant in this matter. Savea did not have any photo ID when he was questioned by officers. Officers also discovered that the truck’s registration expired in 2018. For these reasons, Savea was informed by officers that they were going to impound his truck, and he needed to come with them to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.
Before Savea was transported to the TPS, he was patted down as per protocol, and officers found a small baggie containing 6 hand rolled marijuana cigarettes inside Savea’s pant’s front pocket.
When asked about the 6 hand rolled cigarettes, Savea told officers, “It’s marijuana for my own personal use.”
An inventory search was conducted on the truck and another small baggie containing green leafy substance was found under the driver’s seat. The green leafy substance yielded positive for marijuana.
In a verbal statement to police, Savea admitted to owning the drugs found inside the truck and inside his pant’s pocket. Working as a mechanic, Savea told police he just returned from his friend’s home in Vailoa where he helped his friend fix his bus. Before he left his friend’s house, his friend gave him two small baggies containing marijuana. Savea refused to reveal to police the name of his friend from Vailoa.
He further stated to police that he only smokes marijuana and he never smokes methamphetamine.
In 2015, Savea was sentenced to 5 years probation after being convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana. He served 20 months at the TCF as a condition of his probation. The court also ordered him to depart the territory and remain outside of it border for the duration of his probation. This condition was stayed until further order of the court.
Sione Tufa was arrested by police officers last week for disturbing the public peace inside his household by engaging a fight with his brother-in-law during a drinking session. During his arrest, cops discovered one hand rolled marijuana joint inside his left pants pocket.
Tufa appeared in District Court last week. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony, along with one count of 3rd assault, one count of disturbing the public peace and 3rd degree property damage.
Bail is set at $5,000.
According to the government’s case, three patrolling police officers responding to a call from Petesa when a woman requested police assistance at her residence. Officers arrived and were briefed by the caller about the incident.
The caller identified herself as the wife of the victim. According to her statement to officers, her brother, later identified as Sione Tufa was drinking with her husband. It was during the drinking session that Tufa punched the husband in the face causing him to fall on the ground.
The defendant then picked up the victim’s laptop and threw it on the concrete floor.
Tufa was apprehended at his house a few blocks away from the victim’s residence and was transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. Before Tufa was transported to the police station, he was patted down for weapons. During a body search, cops discovered one hand rolled marijuana joint in his left pants pocket.
After reading of his Constitutional rights, Tufa stated that he understood his rights and refused to make a statement. He told investigators that he wanted to speak to his attorney.