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Woman reports drinking and groping on an aiga bus — pot found later

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A male passenger arrested for consuming alcohol on an aiga bus last month is now charged with violating local drug laws when police allegedly found drugs in his possession.

Taulaga Avia, 29, made his initial appearance in court three weeks ago.

Avia is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both; along with two misdemeanors charges of 3rd degree assault and public peace disturbance.

Bail is set at $5,000.


On Apr. 28, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a phone call from a female individual asking for police assistance regarding some male passengers who were consuming alcohol while riding in an aiga bus heading west on Malaeimi public highway. The person told 911 that one of the drunken men attempted to touch her inappropriately.

TPS responded to the matter and a vehicle stop was initiated in front of the ASCC compound by police.

Conducting an inspection in the bus, officers observed that there were more than three male passengers possessing open alcohol containers. The passengers were disembarked from the bus and officers immediately handcuffed them.

One of the passengers that was cuffed by police was identified as Taulaga Avia, the defendant in this case. Before the detained passengers were transported to the TPS for further investigation, they were all patted down.

The bus was also impounded for further investigation.

During the pat down, a police officer discovered a small baggie containing green leafy substance in Avia’s the right pants pocket. The seized substance/ evidence from Avia was later tested at TPS, and the results revealed the green leafy substance tested positive for THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.

Avia was Mirandized and he informed investigators that he wanted to make a statement.

According to Avia’s statement, a friend of his (Avia could not remember by name) gave him the baggie containing marijuana. He further stated that it was the female individual on the bus who approached him and wanted to talk to him. He touched her shoulder to get her attention but he didn’t attempt to touch her inappropriately.