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Govt presents no witnesses, so case dismissed

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A female drug defendant will be ringing in the New Year with family and friends after District Court Judge Fiti Sunia ordered her immediate release last Friday.

When Olotele Pouesi's case was called, the government attorney informed the court that they had no witnesses to call. Judge Sunia then dismissed the case against Pouesi, also known as Julia, and she was free to go.

Pouesi was facing two felony charges: unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine); and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) — each carrying an imprisonment term of not less than five or more than ten years, and a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $20,000.

The charges stemmed from an incident that occurred earlier this year, when Pouesi was behind the wheel of a rental car that was pulled over by police who discovered that neither Pouesi, nor the female passenger, was licensed to drive.

The vehicle was impounded, and the two women were taken in for questioning.

At that point, Pouesi is alleged to have told investigators that there was weed in the vehicle.

An inventory uncovered tubes of COD and phosphate, one rolled up joint inside a black wallet,  a small baggie containing a crystalline substance, and a glass pipe containing a crystalline substance.

The green leafy substance inside the joint tested positive for marijuana and the crystalline substance from the small baggie and the glass pipe tested positive for meth.

During an interview with investigators, Pouesi said the marijuana joint belonged to her but denied any knowledge of the glass pipe and baggie.

The passenger refused to make any statement.