Man on probation for smoking ‘weed’ now accused of meth possession
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested a week ago last Friday — a month after police found a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance along with two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes inside his vehicle during a routine traffic stop — he was observed speeding on a public road.
Tusiata Alai, who is on probation for a drug conviction three years ago made his initial appearance in court late last month. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana (weed), a felony.
Bail is set at $5,000 surety bond and Alai’s attorney informed the court that his client wishes to exercise his constitutional rights to a preliminary examination (PX), which is now set for next week.
On the night of May 18th, the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit was contacted after traffic cops allegedly found drugs in a vehicle that was pulled over in front of a Tafuna store, for a traffic violation. According to officers, the vehicle was speeding.
Officers approached the driver who was later identified as Tusiata Alai, the defendant in this matter. Alai did not have a license or photo ID when he was questioned by officers, and officers also discovered that the truck’s registration expired in 2019.
For these reasons Alai was informed by officers that they were going to impound his truck, and he needed to come with them to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.
When officers informed Alai regarding the situation, Alai looked nervous and attempted to walk away from officers before he was detained.
Before Alai was transported to the TPS, he was patted down and officers found a small baggie containing two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes inside Alai’s pant’s front pocket. Furthermore, officers also discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance.
When asked about the hand rolled marijuana cigarettes and the glass pipe, Alai told officers, “It’s marijuana and meth for my own personal use.”
An inventory search was conducted on the truck and another small baggie containing green leafy substance was found under the driver’s seat. The green leafy substance yielded positive for THC an active ingredient in marijuana. The white crystalline substance was also tested and yielded positive for meth.
In a verbal statement to police, Alai admitted to owning the drugs found inside the truck and inside his pant’s pocket.
Working as a bus driver, Alai told police he had just returned from his friend’s home in Tafeta where he helped his friend fix his bus. Before he left his friend’s house, his friend gave him two small baggies containing marijuana, along with a glass pipe containing meth. Alai refused to reveal to police the name of his friend from Tafeta.
He further stated to police that he only smokes marijuana and meth to give him strength to do his work but he never sells drugs to anybody.
In 2017, Alai was sentenced to 5 years probation after being convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana (weed). He served 20 months at the TCF as a condition of his probation. The court also ordered him to depart the territory and remain outside of it border for the duration of his probation. This condition was stayed until further order of the court.
Alai’s conviction stems from an incident when police arrested him and two other men for disturbing the public peace in Nu’uuli. During the arrest, police found a small baggie full of green leafy substance, which later tested positive for THC.