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Taxi driver pleads guilty to unlawful possession of drugs

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Passenger reported taxi driver for allegedly trying to sell him ‘ice’

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 52-year-old taxi driver who was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine after his vehicle was pulled over by police in January of this year pled guilty in High Court.

Alexander Talosaga, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.

Talosaga was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony punishable by not less than five or more than ten years in jail, and a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $20,000, or both.

In a plea agreement with the government last month, Talosaga pled guilty to unlawful possession of methamphetamine.

According to the plea agreement, on Jan. 11, a man called the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report something he experienced when a taxi picked him up from Tafuna and dropped him off at his work place in Nu’uuli.

The driver of the taxi was later identified as Talosaga, the defendant in this case.

The government claims that when the passenger jumped inside the taxi in Tafuna, the driver immediately asked if he wanted some “stuff”. The passenger asked Talosaga what he was referring to, and Talosaga responded, “I’m selling ice (methamphetamine) for $25 a baggie if you want it.”

The passenger was uncomfortable throughout the ride; and immediately after he was dropped off at his work place, the man contacted the TPS and alerted them about the situation, including all the information regarding Talosaga and his vehicle.

Not long afterwards, police located the taxi that matched the description of the vehicle the caller provided on the Iliili highway heading to Vaitogi and immediately pulled it over. After a brief conversation with police, Talosaga agreed to a body search and a search of his vehicle. That's when two small baggies containing methamphetamine were discovered inside the pocket of Talosaga’s pants.

The white crystalline substance tested positive for meth.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25.