Man arrested two years ago for possessing aisa just now charged
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man allegedly found with a glass pipe containing methamphetamine inside his vehicle when police pulled him over for a traffic violation almost two years ago was finally arrested and charged.
The question as to why the government waited so long to charge Faamamafa Phode in this case is still unanswered.
According to the government’s case, two police officers patrolling the public highways in the Tafuna area on Sept. 25, 2018 observed a vehicle heading westbound at a high speed. Officers followed the vehicle and made a traffic stop in front of American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) headquarters in Tafuna.
Officers approached the driver of the vehicle and informed him of the reason for the stop. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Fa’amamafa Rhode, the defendant in this case. When asked for his driver’s license, Rhode told police he had forgotten his driver’s license at home, and no other form of photo identification was presented.
Police then informed Rhode that they were going to impound his vehicle because he didn’t have a driver’s license to operate the vehicle on a public highway. Furthermore, he was also being transported to the Tafuna Substation (TSS) for further investigation.
Before Rhode was transported to the TSS, police conducted a body search on him and nothing was found. The search then moved to the vehicle where police discovered a black pouch between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. Inside the black pouch was a glass pipe containing white powder.
The white powder was later tested and the result was positive for methamphetamine.
After being informed of of his constitutional rights, Rhode refused to make a statement to police regarding the glass pipe containing methamphetamine.
Rhode was arrested by police last week and made his initial appearance before Judge Elvis P. Patea.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony.
Bail is set at $5,000.
During the initial appearance proceedings, Rhode’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart informed the court that his client wished to exercise his rights to a preliminary examination (PX).
It was during the PX this past Wednesday that the government called their only witness to the stand, Det. Toia Levao, who was also the lead investigator in this case.
In cross examination, the defense attorney asked about the timeline for the testing for the white powder contained inside the glass pipe. Det. Levao stated to the court that the test was conducted after Rhode was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was held for 48 hours.