Man with one drug conviction already — arrested again
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A driver of a vehicle pulled over by several police officers last month for violating traffic laws is now arrested and charged with violating local drug laws after police allegedly discovered drugs in his possession and in his vehicle.
William Pio, who is on probation for a drug conviction last year, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, 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 one count of resisting arrest, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Bail is set $10,000.
Pio appeared in High Court last week for his arraignment, after he waived his right to a preliminary examination (PX).
On Jan. 26, 2021, four police officers who were patrolling on the Leone public highway observed a blue pickup vehicle turning right onto a family property without any signal. Officers immediately initiated a traffic stop.
Officers observed the driver’s door of the vehicle open and observed an unknown male (driver) exiting from the driver’s side and walking towards the passenger side of his vehicle. Officers approached the unknown male and observed the driver holding in his hand a black bag.
One of the officers recognized the vehicle description and its license plate from a prior incident during the Christmas and New Year traffic enforcement.
A police officer instructed the driver to put down the black bag but the driver refused to cooperate. He swung the black bag in an effort to throw it outside but one of the officers caught the bag.
Officers asked the driver for his driver’s license, but the driver refused to comply, refusing to provide a valid driver’s license or any form of identification document but only verbally stating that his name is Junior.
Officers then informed the driver that his vehicle would be impounded and he was being detained at the TPS for further investigation. That’s when the driver pushed and shoved one of the police officers and ran away heading west where he was subdued by officers about 20 yards away from the vehicle stop.
The driver continued to resist, yelling profanities and fighting off officers. He was eventually apprehended and transported to the TPS.
During the interview, the driver was identified as William Pio, the defendant in this matter. Pio was informed of an outstanding bench warrant issued by the court for his arrest and was served the warrant.
Pio was patted down and officers discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance inside his underwear waistband.
Officers also discovered a medium sized baggie containing a white substance in Pio’s front pocket. A police sergeant also instructed two other police officers to conduct an inventory of Pio’s impounded vehicle.
During the inventory of the vehicle in Pio’s presence, officers discovered a medium size baggie that contained green leafy substances in the armrest between the driver and the front passenger seats. Information regarding Pio’s case was later transferred to the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit for further investigation.
The white crystalline substance discovered in Pio’s possession tested positive for methamphetamine. The green leafy substances were also tested with the result testing positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.
Later on that day, Pio was Mirandized where he stated that he understood and wished not to sign the first portion of the form and would sign on the second portion (waiver) to a verbal statement regarding the incident.
According to Pio, he went to pick up his male friend from his house in Amanave to help him with his plantation when another man standing in front of an Asian store in Leone stopped his vehicle and asked him if he wanted to buy some stuff from him. He asked the man what stuff he was referring to but he whispered to him, “I got meth and weed if you want.”
Pio told investigators that he bought meth and weed worth $50 from the man before he continued to pick up his friend.
In February of last year, Pio was sentenced to five years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 after he was convicted for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He admits that on December of 2018 he had in his possession a stamp-sized baggie containing methamphetamine when police searched him. He was placed on probation for 5 years and ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months in jail.
While waiting in jail for sentencing on his original conviction, as Pio was unable to post his bond, he was arrested again, one month later, along with two other inmates for the alleged beating of another inmate at the TCF. Pio, along with the two other co-defendants were each charged with one count of public peace disturbance (PPD).