Man accused of stealing his uncle’s truck, ends up being charged with meth possession
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of stealing his uncle’s vehicle was arrested last week and now faces drug charges for an incident that occurred last month.
William Akeripa made his initial appearance in District Court last week and bond is set at $10,000. He is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by imprisonment between 5-10 years, a fine between $5,000-$10,000 or both; and stealing, a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine, or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.
Preliminary examination is Friday at 11:30a.m.
If he is able to post bond, Akeripa is to remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and not make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses.
It is alleged that on the morning of Aug. 2, 2019, cops spotted a red truck and another vehicle parked on the side of the road in Pavaiai. The drivers were talking to each other, while still inside their vehicles.
The driver of the red truck was later identified as Akeripa, the defendant, while the driver of the other vehicle was a young female.
Police stopped at the scene, to find out who was driving the red truck, as the DPS Tafuna Substation received a complaint from a man the day before, on Aug. 1st, claiming that his nephew William stole his red truck while he was at work.
According to the vehicle owner, Akeripa broke into his other vehicle and stole the keys to his red truck. The owner said he lied to his wife and told her that he gave Akeripa the okay to drive the red truck and use it for a week.
Police approached Akeripa to inform him about reports that the truck was stolen. Akeripa was then told to exit the vehicle and when he did, police saw him trying to hide something inside his pants pocket.
When cops asked him what he was trying to hide, Akeripa became nervous and said it was a pack of cigarettes. Akeripa then pulled the cigarette pack out, and threw it on the other side of the dirt road.
When asked why he did that, Akeripa told police, the pack was empty. An officer instructed him to pick up the empty cigarette pack but Akeripa refused.
The officer walked over and picked up the empty cigarette pack and when he opened it, the officer found a small glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth, and a small stamp sized straw with a white crystalline substance that appeared to be meth inside.
At that point, Akeripa told police that it was the female driver who gave him the pack of cigarettes, and he had no knowledge what was inside.
Both Akeripa and the female driver were taken to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. In an interview with police, the female driver said Akeripa came to her house to hide because the police were looking for his uncle’s red truck he stole.
She said that on the day in question, she stopped Akeripa’s vehicle and asked him to leave her residence because she didn’t want to be involved with his problems. According to her, she has nothing to do with the pack of cigarettes Akeripa threw away, as she doesn’t smoke or do drugs.
When questioned by police, Akeripa denied any knowledge of the drugs discovered inside the cigarette pack. He told officers it was the female driver who gave it to him. He also denied his uncle’s accusations that he stole his red truck. He told police his uncle allowed him to use his red truck, and he gave him the key, he never stole it.