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Police traffic stop results in 4 charges against driver

COURT REPORT logo
reporters@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested during a traffic stop when his vehicle was stopped after it was discovered the vehicle had expired license tags and insurance, and he did not have his license in his possession.

The affidavit does not note why police ran the vehicle’s license plates “through police headquarters” when the vehicle was seen traveling eastbound and the police units — “MC-01 and MC- 03” — were patrolling westbound towards the Fagaalu public highway, near Matafao Elementary School.

Mark Maiava, driver of the vehicle, is charged with four criminal counts:

Count 1 & 2: Fraudulent Vehicle License Tag — each count is a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of $5,000, or both;

Count 3: Non-Possession of Driver’s License — a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six (6) months, a fine of $500, or both; and,

Count 4: Expired Insurance, a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six (6) months, a fine of $500, or both.

Bail for the defendant was set at $5,000.

According to the affidavit, on the morning of October 9, 2023, the police units were patrolling westbound near Matafao Elementary School and observed Mark Maiava driving a vehicle, traveling eastbound. The plates were run through Police Headquarters and the status of the registration and insurance came out to be expired. As a result, one of the police units proceeded to conduct a traffic stop at Utulei Beach near the restrooms.

“During the traffic stop, it was observed that there was a registration tag on the license plates that had the number ’24.”

As the police officer took a closer look, it was seen that “the registration tag was handwritten in markers to make it seem like a valid 2024 registration tag.”

Police photographed the vehicle registration tag, and asked Maiva for his driver’s license and proof of insurance, both of which he did not possess and he also admitted that the insurance was expired. The vehicle was then impounded to the Fagatogo Police Station (FPS).

 Upon arrival at the FPS, “Maiva was asked who had forged the counterfeit registration tag on the vehicle, whereas he admitted it was him.”

Mark Maiva is a US National.