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“Family Man” tells police he wants to start a drug operation so he can make money

American Samoa District Court building
He refuses to give up the name of his supplier

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle that was pulled over during a traffic stop last week is now in custody after police allegedly found drugs in the vehicle. Tuli Savea made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of meth with the intent to distribute, both felonies, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, a fine of not more than $20,000, or both — for each count.

Bail is set at $20,000.

Defense attorney Bob Stuart asked the court to reduce his client’s bail to $5,000 saying Savea is a family man who made a terrible mistake. According to Stuart, Savea is the only one in his family who works and the charges against him are based on allegations — he’s innocent until proven guilty.

Prosecutor Laura Garvey opposed the motion, saying Savea is a flight risk and the quantity of drugs found in his vehicle prove that he’s a distributor. Judge Patea denied the motion and the preliminary examination is this Friday, Jan. 3rd.


On the night of Dec. 13, 2019 cops apprehended Savea in Pavaiai after a vehicle stop, where he was found to have a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance that later tested positive for meth.

Officers who were patrolling in Pavaiai initiated the traffic stop because the vehicle was speeding. Savea was the driver, and his driver’s license expired March 3, 2018.

Police who were at the scene observed numerous kitchen knives in the vehicle. A pat down of Savea netted a glass pipe in his left pocket. Police also found a pouch with a baggie containing another glass pipe with a white crystalline substance that later tested positive for meth.

During an inventory of the vehicle, cops found a yellow envelope with two medium-sized baggies, containing chunks of a white crystalline substance. The envelope was stashed in the roof of the vehicle. Also found in the vehicle were 2 handcuffs, a handcuff key, a 22-round, an empty 9mm magazine clip, a bag containing a weapon cleaning kit, and other items that are now in the DPS evidence room.

Savea told investigators that the glass pipe found during the traffic stop belonged to him, and he made it by hand so he can smoke meth. Savea allegedly told police that the last time he smoked was Dec. 12th, 2019 the night before he got pulled over.

About the yellow envelope and its contents, Savea said those too, belonged to him, and he didn’t buy them, as they were given to him for free by a friend, and he was selling it to anybody so he can make some money.

Savea told police he wants to start a drug operation to earn money so he can do whatever he wants. He said he promised his friend who gave him the drugs that he will never reveal his name to police.