Two held on meth charges
COURT REPORT w_header
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A male driver and a female passenger of a vehicle pulled over by police officers for a seat belt violation last week are now in custody after officers discovered illegal drugs and paraphernalia inside the vehicle.
The driver, Amosa Siitia and the passenger, Cathy Timata made their initial appearances in District Court two weeks ago. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey, while Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson is representing both defendants.
Siitia is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, both felonies; along with one charge of possession of ammunition, a class A misdemeanor.
Timata is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony.
Siitia’s bail is set at $25,000, and Timata’s at $5,000.
During their initial appearance, both defendants waived their rights to a preliminary examination.
Their pretrial conference is set for Oct. 27th after they each entered a not guilty plea to the charges against them during the arraignment.
The government claims that on the afternoon of Aug. 13, 2020, police in the Vailoa area saw a black truck being driven at high speed; and also noted that the driver was not wearing his seat belt.
Cops pulled over the truck in front of a store in Vailoa. And, while they approached the vehicle, the driver, who was later identified as Amosa Siitia, had already exited the truck, with a small white container in his right hand that he was attempting to throw away.
Officers instructed Siitia to get back inside the vehicle but Taavili refused and demanded to know why they had stopped his vehicle. He also asked police to show him a search warrant it they were going to search his person and his vehicle. While officers were trying to convince Siitia to get inside the vehicle, Siitia threw the white plastic container toward the back of his vehicle.
The matter was resolved calmly, with Siitia getting back inside the vehicle per police instructions.
Two officers walked behind the vehicle and retrieved the white plastic container and took it into custody for further investigation.
A female sitting in the passenger seat was later identified as Cathy Timata, the co-defendant in this case.
When asked for his driver’s license, Siitia said he didn’t have it with him. His name was then run through the Office of Motor Vehicle’s (OMV) system and it turned out that his driver’s license expired over two years ago.
Police also checked the truck’s license plate and discovered that it did not belong to the truck.
Both Siitia and Timata were then asked to step out of the vehicle.
Siitia was patted down per norm, where upon a box of ammunition was found, leading to his immediate arrest.
Cops also searched the white plastic container Siitia had thrown to the back of the vehicle, and allegedly discovered illegal drugs, 5 cut-up straws containing white crystalline substance inside a medium baggie; 10 empty cut-up straws; and 10 stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance inside another medium plastic baggie, and paraphernalia.
Police searched the vehicle and discovered two more stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance, 11 empty baggies commonly used to sell meth, along with 3 empty cut-up straws. A glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance was further discovered under the driver’s seat.
Timata was patted down by a female cop and a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance was discovered inside her pants pocket.
Both Siitia and Timata were taken to the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) for questioning where they were taken to different rooms for interviews.
When asked about the glass pipe containing white crystalline substance discovered in her possession, Timata told police that the glass pipe belonged to her. She further stated that she got the pipe from a male friend.
When asked about the illegal drugs, paraphernalia and ammunition discovered in his possession and inside his vehicle, Siitia told investigators that everything that was inside the white plastic container and the vehicle belonged to him.
In his written statement to investigators, Siitia stated that he bought the drugs from a man in Vaitogi for the purpose of selling it to earn some money for him and his family. He said he had been selling drugs for over a year now.