Update: Drug bust yields ‘gold’ — an alleged meth supplier
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Four men have been arrested after armed detectives and police officers of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Vice and Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at a house on the western side of the island.
Three men were arrested at the house while the fourth, who is the alleged supplier was arrested at a store parking lot in the Tafuna area.
The four defendants are Harry Faavae; Albert Faapu’e; Alapati Saega and Ioane Aniseko, and each made their initial appearances before District Court Judge Gwen Tauiliili_Langkilde on Wednesday last week.
Faavae is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); one count of unlawful possession of meth with the intent to distribute; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; all unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years, nor more than twenty years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Saega is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
Aniseko is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of meth with the intent to distribute.
Faapu’e is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth.
Bail for Faavae and Aniseko is set at $20,000 each, while for Faapu’e and Saega it is $5,000 each.
During their initial appearance, an immigration officer informed the court that Faavae, Aniseko and Saega are non US Nationals and their immigration status is valid.
Public Defender, Michael White represents the four defendants, and informed the court that all of his four clients wanted to exercise their rights to a preliminary examination (PX). They are scheduled to appear in court for their PX on June 15th, 2021 at 8:30a.m.
It was on the morning of June 7th, 2021 around 7:30a.m when Narcotics and CID Units of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) executed a search warrant on Harry Mufasa Faavae’s residence. Upon arrival at the scene, cops observed three male individuals were sitting in the garage facing the road.
The three males were later identified as Faavae, Faapu’e and Saega.
While other officers proceeded to the structures noted on the search warrant, the lead investigator approached Faavae and informed him on the reason for police presence at his residence, and showed him the search warrant. Faavae allegedly didn’t react much.
The table that the three males were sitting around allegedly had 27 empty cut up straws, and 3 simoi baggies containing green leafy substance. A total of $564.00 was found in Faavae’s wallet that was also allegedly found on the same table, including a pack of rolling papers.
Investigators searched Faavae’s person where 8 cut up straws containing a crystalline substance were allegedly discovered including a simoi baggie that contained a crystalline substance.
Faavae was detained by officers and separated from Faapu’e and Saega, who were patted down too.
A search of Faavae’s primary residence allegedly produced a box of regular sized straws, a bag of large straws, 2 scales and a propane torch.
During a body search of Faapu’e, an officer allegedly found a medicine bottle that had a napkin inside it, which was being used to wrap a glass pipe containing a white residue.
Another glass pipe with white residue in it was also allegedly found on the ground directly behind where Faapu’e was sitting at the time officers arrived to execute the search warrant.
It was while conducting a search on the structures, a police captain overheard Faavae saying that he had a scheduled meet with a supplier. It was then the police captain decided to allow Faavae to leave the scene of the bust to make the meet and have the lead investigator follow Faavae undetected, in an unmarked vehicle to the meet.
The lead investigator observed Faavae pull into the parking lot of a store in the Tafuna area next to a black SUV. Faavae got out of his vehicle and proceeded toward SUV and as Faavae was about to get into the vehicle on the passenger side, the lead investigator approached the SUV on the driver’s side door and instructed the driver to exit the vehicle and for Faavae not to get inside the vehicle. The driver of the SUV was later identified as Ioane Aniseko, one of the four co-defendants in the case.
The SUV was searched and allegedly a medium size baggie containing a crystalline substance was found next to a fanny pack on the passenger seat. The fanny pack was also searched and allegedly found to contain 6 simoi-size baggies with crystalline substances inside them, along with 251 cut-up straws each containing a crystalline substance inside.
Both Aniseko and Faavae were placed in handcuffs and transported to the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) for processing.
Officers asked Saega if the vehicle on the scene was his, to which he replied yes. After patting down Saega for weapons, officers informed him that the car was being impounded to the TPS and a quick inventory would be conducted before the car was impounded.
Officers allegedly asked Saega if he had any drugs in his car, to which he replied yes. Cops then searched his vehicle to retrieve the contents, and allegedly a pipe containing a crystalline substance and a simoi baggie containing a green leafy substance were found.
Saega was Mirandized where he stated that he understood and agreed to waive his rights and make a statement concerning the drugs found in his vehicle.
He stated that he bought a pipe (commonly used to smoke meth) for $20 and marijuana for $10 and placed everything in his vehicle.
Saega added that he then went back to the garage where Faavae and Faapu’e were and that is when he saw a group of police offices surrounding Faavae’s house.
A Duquenois Levine Reagent field test kit was used to test the green leafy substances found at the scene, which yielded positive results for THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana.
A field test kit was also used to test the crystalline substance found at the scene in the residence and vehicles, which yielded positive results for meth.