Man charged with ice possession points a finger at EMS employee
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of the vehicle pulled over by police during a traffic stop in Malaloa last week told investigators that the illegal drugs found in his possession was bought from a man named “V” at the EMS in Fagaalu. (Samoa News is not using the man’s full name as he has not been charged.)
Sauipuapuaga Lemusu made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart, while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General, Laura Garvey.
Lemusu is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both.
Bail is set at $50,000.
During his initial appearance Lemusu requested a Preliminary examination (PX), which is now scheduled for Thursday this week, July 2nd at 1p.m.
The government’s case against Lemusu stems from a traffic stop in front of the Tool Shop gas station in Malaloa on June 22, 2020 about 6:04p.m, after officers observed a vehicle on the public highway with only one headlight.
The two officers who were patrolling the area stopped the vehicle and moments later the DPS Vice and Narcotic K9 unit also arrived at the location and were able to assist the two patrolling officers during the traffic stop.
Officers approached the driver and explained why they pulled him over. The driver was later identified as Sauipuapuaga Lemusu, the defendant in this case.
When asked for his driver’s license, Lemusu did not have a driver’s license nor any form of identification on his person.
Lemusu was then informed by officers that he would be taken to the Fagatogo Police Station (FPS) in order to contact family members to bring verification to confirm his identity. When Lemusu was patted down for weapons a police lieutenant found a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine on Lemusu’s person.
When asked what it was, Lemusu replied to the officer in Samoan, “o le paipa e ula ai le aisa” — translation “it’s a pipe used to smoke ice” also known as methamphetamine.
After the body search, Lemusu was immediately detained and on the way to the FPS, Lemusu informed the police sergeant who was driving his vehicle about illegal drugs inside his pocket and he wanted the officer to remove the illegal drugs away from his person because both of his hands were cuffed.
Upon arrival at the FPS, the police sergeant who spoke with Lemusu regarding the illegal drugs approached the lead investigating officer and told him what the defendant had told him.
Lemusu confirmed to the lead investigator the information he told the police sergeant and told him that he has two straws containing methamphetamine inside his right side pants pocket.
Officers reached inside Lemusu’s right pocket and found the two straws containing white crystalline substance, which later tested positive for methamphetamine.
Lemusu was later advised of his Constitutional Rights where he informed officers that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement and answer questions.
According to Lemusu’s verbal and written statement to investigators, he bought the ice from “V” who works for EMS in Faga’alu. He bought two straws worth about $50 (which was $25 each) from “V” at his place of work at the EMS compound in Faga’alu across from the LBJ Medical Hospital.
Lemusu further stated to police that he usually buys meth from “V”, twice a week.
SEARCH AT EMS
After interviewing Lemusu regarding the incident where he’s being charged with unlawful possession of illegal drugs, detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics K9 Units moved on to the next step of their investigation, which was to go after the person from whom Lemusu got his drugs.
After putting together all the information and evidence regarding Lemusu’s case, detectives then requested for a search warrant from the court to search “V’s” person and place of works at the EMS compound in Faga’alu.
About 4p.m on Friday afternoon, armed detectives of the Vice & Narcotic K9 Unit executed the search warrant for drugs on “V” at his place of work at the EMS compound . However, no illegal drugs were found during the search, only cash — about $800 was found on “V”.