Meth continues to plague the territory — probationer arrested for drug possession following a traffic stop
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —A young man with several bench warrants including a large sum of traffic fines owed to the court was arrested last week on allegations of unlawful drug possession.
Filisi Auelua made his initial appearance in District Court last week and bail is set at $5,000 cash. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony.
If he is able to post bail, Auelua is ordered to pay $850 in outstanding fines, remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory without the court’s permission, and not make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses.
During court proceedings, defense attorney Bob Stuart requested to quash the two bench warrants issued for his client’s arrest, saying Auelua was unaware of his court hearings.
Before granting the defense submission, Judge Elvis P. Patea explained to Auelua that whenever he is ordered to appear in court, it’s his duty to make that his first priority. “If you post your bond, make sure you make all of your court appearances; if you fail, the court will find you and hold you at the TCF without bail until the matter is resolved. So, take this first incident as a lesson.”
Preliminary examination is set for this Friday, Oct. 18th.
On Oct. 8th police stopped a black truck in Nu’uuli for a false plate.
The vehicle was impounded and cops later found a clear glass pipe containing a usable amount of methamphetamine. In addition, two glass pipes containing a crystalline substance, along with several empty small ziplock baggies commonly used to package meth were also discovered in the passenger side of the vehicle.
Three people were in the vehicle: the driver, later identified as Aleki Failauga; Auelua, and a female, identified as Auelua's ex girlfriend.
When asked for his license, the driver told police he forgot to bring it with him. No other form of identification was presented. Information received by police revealed that the vehicle was registered under Aleki Failauga who had a driver’s license, but was expired.
During the course of the investigation, Auelua's ex girlfriend told police that there was another glass pipe that Auelua hid under his seat., and Auelua had warned her not to say anything because he didn’t want the cops to know anything about it.
Officers returned to the vehicle and discovered a glass pipe containing meth.
When questioned by police, the driver denied any knowledge of the glass pipes and drug paraphernalia that were found inside his vehicle. He said they were all Auelua’s, adding that he saw Auelua hide something under his seat when their vehicle was pulled over, but he didn’t see what it was.
The driver was cited for driving a vehicle with false plates but was later released pending an investigation.
When she was interviewed, the female passenger said when they were getting pulled over, she saw Auelua place a glass pipe containing meth under his seat and Auelua instructed her to hide the glass pipe, but she didn’t.
The female passenger was also released pending further investigation.
When confronted by police, Auelua refused to provide a written statement. He verbally stated however, that he didn’t know owned the glass pipes that were found in the vehicle, and he borrowed the vehicle from the owner the Friday before.
The crystalline substance in the clear glass pipe discovered on Auelua netted positive results for meth.
Auelua is on probation. He was sentenced in High Court back in 2013 to serve 28 months detention at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) as a condition of his 7-year probation for a stealing conviction.
Upon release from detention, Auelua was to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation. However, this condition was stayed, pending further order of the court.
Auelua was also ordered to find a job within the first 90 days of release from the TCF, and pay $2,193 in restitution to the victim.