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Rental car driver popped for drugs changes plea

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young woman accused of stealing a rental car and violating local drug laws entered into a plea agreement last week. Julie Uiese, 21, appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse for a Change of Plea hearing.

Uiese, who is released on a $10,000 surety bond, was initially charged in two separate cases. In the first case, she was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine. For the second case, she was charged with one count of stealing, a class C felony. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Uiese pled guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful possession of meth - a class D felony; and the amended charge of attempted stealing, a class C felony.

She admits that on June 29, 2019, cops found her driving a rental car that was supposed to be turned in on June 19th. She said she kept the rental car past the due date, and even drove to her friend’s home in Futiga where she stayed so the vehicle owner wouldn’t be able to locate her car.

Uiese further admits that when she was arrested for not returning the rental car, she  had drugs in her possession. When police searched a package belonging to Uiese, they found drugs and paraphernalia inside: a small straw of meth, a glass pipe containing meth, a lighter, 3 cellphones, and a ‘Hookah’ pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana. She will be sentenced Feb. 13th


In Nov. 2018, police followed up on a tip regarding a man they were looking for - the man was driving a rental car with two ladies inside - Uiese was the passenger. Police pulled the vehicle over and drugs were found during a search.

An inventory uncovered tubes of COD and phosphate in a container in the trunk. Cops also found one rolled up joint in a black wallet; 4 small baggies containing a crystalline substance; a glass pipe containing a crystalline substance in a gray purse; and a green leafy substance wrapped in brown paper.

Uiese and the driver were arrested and appeared in court for their initial appearances. However, Uiese’s name was never called and she was released after court proceedings that day.