Iliili woman charged with meth possession and intent to distribute
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The female driver of a black truck that was stopped by police last week told investigators that the black bag they found in the vehicle — allegedly containing a huge amount of a white crystalline substance and paraphernalia — does not belong to her.
Mavis Fiatupu of Iliili made her initial appearance before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea last week. Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart said they want to move forward with a preliminary examination (PX) hearing, which is set for Thursday this week at 1p.m.
Judge Patea established bail at $20,000 under certain conditions. Fiatupu, 32, is to remain law-abiding, and alcohol and drug free. She is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of methamphetamine — both felonies.
According to the court affidavit, a black truck with no license plate light was stopped by police on Nov. 29th at around 9:23 p.m. in the Tafuna area. Fiatupu and two males identified as Apelu Willie and Vincent Alex Jr were in the vehicle.
When police checked the lights for the rear license plate, they discovered that the tag on the plate (3410) did not match the number on the license plate (3041). Dispatch was notified and according to their records, the license plate in question expired in April 2015. Fiatupu was cited and the vehicle was impounded because the license plate was expired and the tags belonged to another vehicle.
Fiatupu was present when cops took inventory of the vehicle. A black bag was found under the driver’s seat. (Fiatupu was behind the wheel when the vehicle was pulled over).
She was shown the bag and asked who owned it. Fiatupu denied any knowledge of the bag. She was also asked about the white substance found inside one of the ziplock baggies inside the bag. Fiatupu allegedly responded: it is “ice” (meth).
During a body search, a clear ziplock baggie with a small amount of a white crystalline substance fell from Fiatupu’s pants pocket. She also pulled out a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance.
When asked about the baggie and the glass pipe, Fiatupu smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Willie, one of the passengers that night, told police he caught a ride with Fiatupu, a.k.a. “Lady King in Malaeloa” and he knew nothing about a bag because he didn’t have a bag with him.
Willie explained that Fiatupu is his girlfriend and they were heading out to dinner that night and on their way to the restaurant, they picked up Vincent (another male passenger) from Taputimu.
Willie said he and Vincent had nothing to do with the bag of drugs discovered inside Fiatupu’s vehicle. He said he knew Fiatupu was involved in drugs but he didn’t know Fiatupu was carrying drugs in the vehicle that night.
During a second search of the vehicle, police found a glass pipe about 8-9 inches long in the back seat of Fiatupu’s vehicle. When asked about it, Fiatupu responded, “o le paipa e ula ai le aisa” (it’s a pipe to smoke ice). The glass pipe was loaded with a white crystalline substance.
Tests on all the crystalline substances found that day were positive for ice.
Fiatupu, through a verbal and written statement to police, said the bag with the illegal drugs was inside the vehicle before she got in, and the vehicle does not belong to her.
When interviewed by police, passenger Vincent had a different version of the story. According to him, his friend Willie called and asked if he wanted something to eat. He said yes. A few minutes later, Willie called him again and told him to come to the front, they were waiting for him.
On their way to the restaurant, said Vincent, he heard Fiatupu and Willie’s conversation regarding their plan to drop the bag off to someone named “Uncle Kiuga” and then picking up money so they can buy food at the restaurant. But before they got to “Uncle Kiuga’s” home, Vincent said their vehicle was pulled over by police.
Among the evidence collected from Fiatupu's vehicle were a digital scale, several ziploc plastic baggies; 19 Q-Tips; one jumbo cut-up straw, electric tape, and a large cut-up straw commonly used to scoop ice.