Man charged — two YEARS later —after meth found inside vehicle during traffic stop
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man allegedly found with two glass pipes containing methamphetamine inside his vehicle when police pulled him over for a traffic violation almost two years ago has just recently been arrested and charged.
The question as to why the government waited so long to charge Faamanu Asomau in this case is still unanswered.
According to the government’s case, two police officers patrolling the public highways in the Tafuna area on Aug. 15, 2018 observed a vehicle heading westbound at a high speed and the driver was not wearing his seatbelt. Officers followed the vehicle and made a traffic stop in front of American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) headquarters in Tafuna.
The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Fa’amanu Asomau, the defendant in this case. When asked for his driver’s license, Asomau told police he had forgotten his driver’s license at home, and had no other form of photo identification with him. Due to this, police impounded Asomau’s vehicle and the driver was also transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.
Before Asomau was transported to the TPS, police conducted a body search 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 were two glass pipes each containing white powder.
The white powder was later tested and the result was positive for methamphetamine.
After being informed of his constitutional rights, Asomau refused to make a statement to police regarding the glass pipes containing methamphetamine.
Asomau was arrested by police last month and made his initial appearance in District Court.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony.
Bail is set at $5,000.
During the initial appearance proceedings, Asomau’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart informed the court that his client wished to exercise his rights to a preliminary examination (PX).
During the PX last week 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 two glass pipes. Det. Levao stated to the court that the test was conducted after Asomau was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was held for 48 hours.