DUI stop morphs into meth arrest
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a truck that was pulled over by police last month for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is also being charged with unlawful possession of drugs.
Uale Siitaga, who has a pending drug case in High Court from 2019, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
Siitaga is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a felony; and driving under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor.
Around 12:10a.m on Oct. 01st, a vehicle was pulled over in front of the Veterans Memorial Stadium for speeding, and a field sobriety test was administered to the driver, who failed it and was immediately arrested for DUI. The driver was identified as Uale Siitaga.
Siitaga was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning and his vehicle was impounded. A body search netted a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance inside his back pocket. The bulb of the glass pipe was cracked but police were still able to collect residue and test it. The substance yielded positive results for meth.
Siitaga told police he was drinking with a friend in Vaitogii, where he was given the glass pipe. He said he smoked the glass pipe and then kept it on him.
Police also found in Siitaga’s possession, a bag that he said belonged to him, which contained two empty small green straws and empty stamp-sized baggies.
During his interview with police, Siitaga revealed that he has a pending case in High Court, in which he is charged with violating local drug laws.
Siitaga was arrested after armed detectives executed a search warrant on his home and vehicle in July 2019. Siitaga was subsequently charged with unlawful possession of meth with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of meth; unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of marijuana — all felonies.
According to the government, it was around January of 2019 that a ‘confidential informant’ (CI) provided information to police regarding a home in Tafuna, allegedly being used to run drugs. The alleged business was led by Sisitaga and another person, and was operated out of the small shack behind Siitaga’s house.
A controlled buy was carried out in June 2019 and took place inside Siitaga’s vehicle before he was arrested the following month after police executed a search warrant. In that case, Siitaga was released on a $15,000 surety bond and one of the conditions is that he remains law abiding. His trial is set for May 10, 2024