More traffic stops — more meth heads busted
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle pulled over by police officers for a traffic violation is now charged with violating local drug laws after cops discovered drugs in the vehicle and in his possession.
The driver, Siaosi Saipani made his initial appearance in District Court this week.
He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, both unclassified felonies, punishable by not less than five years nor more than twenty years and a fine of not more than $20,000.
Bail is set at $15,000.
On Nov. 24th, 2020 around 2:50p.m, during a routine patrol near Faganeanea village, police observed a vehicle overtaking another vehicle. Officers pulled over the vehicle for a traffic stop.
During the stop, the driver presented an expired driver’s license, which led to the vehicle being impounded and the driver arrested and taken to the Central Police Station (CPS). It was while the vehicle was being driven by a police office to the CPS that a cut up straw sticking out of a black leather case was observed. The straw seemed to be a common cut up straw used to package small amounts of methamphetamine.
The officer asked the defendant what was inside the case, the defendant replied by giving the officer consent to look inside of the case. Upon opening the case, the officer allegedly discovered cash and illegal drugs. Officers immediately contacted CPS for assistance from Vice and Narcotics Division after the discovery.
Several police detectives responded to the call and immediately took over the case. When police detectives opened the black case, they discovered cash, a glass pipe, several cut up straws and a baggie containing a white crystalline substance. The defendant was then escorted into the CPS for questioning.
The driver was then patted down and another baggie similar to the one inside the case was discovered. The baggie contained two cut up straws containing white crystalline substance.
All substances were tested and showed positive for methamphetamine.
The defendant was Mirandized and the defendant refused to give a statement regarding the illegal substance discovered in his possession.
The driver of a vehicle pulled over by police two weeks ago for a traffic violation was arrested and charged with violating local drug laws. The government alleges that on Nov. 18th, 2020 about 9:21p.m, two police officers patrolling the Tafuna public highway pulled over a black SUV for speeding and the driver was also not wearing a seatbelt.
Officers approached the driver and informed him of why he was stopped. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Tafilipepe Lavea’i, the defendant in this case.
Upon speaking with the defendant, the officer observed that the defendant had a red face and red bloodshot eyes.
The officer then asked the man if he had been drinking and questioned him about how many drinks he had and what time he finished drinking. The defendant responded by saying that he only had two large bottles of beer and he had finished them an hour prior to the vehicle stop. The driver further told police that he didn’t want to do a field sobriety because he believed that he would fail the test.
Police informed Lavea’i that his vehicle would be impounded and he was also under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Before the defendant and his vehicle were transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for further investigation, police conducted a body search. During the search, police found a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance in the defendant’s right pocket.
An inventory search was conducted on the vehicle where police found half a marijuana joint under the driver’s seat. When questioned about the illegal drugs found in his possession and also inside his vehicle, Lavea’i told police that the illegal drugs belonged to him. He told police that he got the glass pipe and one marijuana joint from a friend during a drinking session at the Lions Park in Tafuna.
Lavea’i made his initial appearance in court 3 weeks ago.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies.
Bail is set at $10,000.