Driver and passenger arrested for drugs during a traffic stop
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The the driver and the passenger of a vehicle that was pulled over two weeks ago for a traffic violation are now charged with drug possession. The passenger and the driver also had outstanding bench warrants with the District Court for failing to appear in court during their Probation Review hearing last year.
The passenger, David Malaefono, and the driver, Matauaina Apelu, made their initial appearances before Judge Elvis P. Patea on Tuesday last week. Malaefono is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony, while Apelu is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, also a felony.
Bail for each man is set at $5,000 each, and the preliminary examination is Friday next week, Apr. 10th.
On Mar. 16th, cops found drugs on both the driver and the passenger of a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. It was later discovered that both the driver and the passenger had outstanding bench warrants for their arrest. The case was ultimately transferred to the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit.
According to the traffic officers, a black truck heading west, in the Bay area, was swerving sideways, so the vehicle was pulled over in front of a store in Utulei. When police approached the vehicle, two males were inside — Malaefono and Apelu.
Apelu did not produce a driver’s license when asked for one; but police were aware of an outstanding bench warrant in his name for failing to appear in court in September of last year. Police were also aware of a bench warrant out for Malaefono.
Both men were taken in for questioning. Prior to that, a pat down netted a clear glass pipe (commonly used to smoke meth) in Malaefono’s left pocket. The glass pipe contained a useable amount of a white crystalline substance.
During a body search for Apelu, police discovered a small baggie containing two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes in his right pocket.
Malaefono and Apelu refused to give statements to police.