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COURT REPORT: Two more meth cases on the books

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a black pick-up truck pulled over by police officers last month for failure to stop at a stop sign is now charged with violating local drug laws. The pick-up almost collided with another vehicle.

Peniata Lokeni, a.k.a Pen Lokeni, a 40-year old male from Kokoland, was taken into custody when police discovered two small baggies containing white crystalline substance in his possession.

When asked about the reason why he didn’t stop at the stop sign, he told police that he was in a rush to pick up his elderly father-in-law from home to take him to the hospital for his medical appointment. It was during this conversation, officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver’s breath and asked Lokeni if he was under the influence of alcohol, to which he replied, “No.”

Officers asked the driver again if he’s sure that he’s not under the influence of alcohol, the driver paused for few seconds before he replied, “Yes, I consumed a few beers at my friend’s house and I also got some illegal stuff on me.”

Officers asked the driver what stuff he was referring to, the driver replied, “illegal meth that my friend gave to me to take home.” Officers then instructed the driver to step out of his vehicle.

It was at that time the driver pulled out two small baggies containing a white substance and handed them over to police officers. He also pulled from his left pocket one hand rolled marijuana cigarette and handed it over to the officers. A pat down was conducted and nothing else was found.

The driver was transported to the Tafuna Police Station for further investigation, and his vehicle was also impounded.

After being Mirandized, Lokeni told investigators that he understood his rights and he wanted to make a statement regarding the incident. According to his written statement, Lokeni told investigators that the illegal drugs found in his possession were given to him by his friend from Vaitogi. Lokeni stated that he visited his friend’s house after work and had a few beers before heading back home.

During their drinking session, his friend gave him methamphetamine and marijuana for his personal use. Defendant further stated to investigators that he knew that his friend has been involved in selling drugs from his home. He told investigators that he’s not a drug dealer. He only smokes meth and marijuana.

Lokeni made his initial appearance in court last month.

He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, along with a class A misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

Bail was set at $10,000.


A 29-year-old man accused of possessing a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance was arrested and charged for violating local drug laws.

Pulega Vaitele made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, a felony, punishable by imprisonment from 5- 10 years, a $5,000 fine up to $20,000.

Bail is set at $5,000.


On Sept. 23, 2020, the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit received information from the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) regarding a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance found on an individual, who was allegedly involved in a public peace disturbance case they were investigating.

The two individuals involved in this matter including the defendant, Vaitele and his girlfriend were transported to the TPS for further investigation. At the TPS, officers were suspicious of the defendant girlfriend’s movements and after a pat down, she was asked for consent to look through her bag — she gave officers her consent.

During the search, police discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance and immediately confiscated it. Officers also found a small stamp-sized baggie containing white crystalline substance. The white crystalline substance was tested and yielded positive for methamphetamine.

After she was Mirandized, the girlfriend made a statement to police. She stated to police that the glass pipe and the plastic baggie found inside her bag belonged to her boyfriend, Vaitele, and that she had refused to put ‘his stuff’ inside her bag, and she was not aware that her boyfriend had put the glass pipe in her bag.

Vaitele was questioned by the police regarding the glass pipe and the plastic baggie, and he admitted to owning the stuff found by police inside his girlfriend’s bag, and that he had placed it inside his girlfriend’s bag and she didn’t know about it.

When asked where he had gotten the glass pipe, Vaitele stated that he got the stuff from an old friend who always give him drugs for his own personal use.

Vaitele was later transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and confined. His girlfriend was released.