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On probation for illegal drug conviction, man is back again — busted for drugs

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 49-year-old man who is on probation after being convicted of felony drug possession is now back in custody after police allegedly discovered a quantity of illegal drugs in his possession during a traffic stop last month in the Tafuna area.

Nathaniel Alesana is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, both felonies which carry an imprisonment sentence of between 5 to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or both; along with one count of resisting arrest, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Alesana made his initial appearance in court last month where the court set a $15,000 surety bond.

If he posts bond, Alesana is ordered to pay his outstanding traffic fines, remain law abiding and make all of his court appearances.


The government’s case against Alesana stems from an incident that occurred on Nov. 10th, 2020 about 6:19p.m when two patrolling police officers spotted a pickup truck heading westbound with an expired license tag. The vehicle was also speeding.

Officers radioed the Dispatcher for a quick check on the status of the license plate while following the vehicle, and the Dispatcher stated that it had expired three years ago.

Officers pulled the truck over and found only Alesana inside. It was while explaining to Alesana about the license being expired that police saw the defendant trying to reach into his right pocket. Alesana also seemed to be nervous while speaking with police.

When officers instructed the defendant to turn off his engine and step outside, the defendant resisted and started to move his vehicle forward. It wasn’t until after the second attempt by police to get him out of the vehicle that the defendant agreed to comply with police.

As it turned out the defendant also did not possess a valid driver’s license — it also had expired three years ago.

The officers then impounded the vehicle and transported it to the Tafuna Police Substation. However, before officers conducted the inventory search of the truck, Alesana was patted down, in which a small stamp-sized baggie in the defendant’s right pocket containing green leafy substance, and inside the defendant’s left pocket, police discovered a medium baggie which contained 3 small stamped-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance.

While police was conducting the body search, the defendant resisted and attempted to push away the police officer, however, two other cops standing on the side watching the search quickly moved in and stopped the defendant from fleeing the scene. The search then moved to the vehicle.

During the inventory search of the vehicle — with the defendant present  —police observed a black pouch underneath the passenger seat. Inside the black pouch were 3 cut-up straws containing white crystalline substance.

The DPS Vice and Narcotic and K9 Unit were then contacted to further the investigation, and the plastic baggie containing the white crystalline substance was handed over to the officers of VNU, who took over the investigation.

The white crystalline substance inside the plastic baggie tested positive for methamphetamine and the green leafy substance found inside the other plastic baggie tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The defendant was Mirandized, to which he acknowledged his understanding and wished to make a verbal statement about the incident.

According to Alesana’s statement to police, the methamphetamine found in his possession and inside his vehicle did not belong to him, it belonged to the person who owns the vehicle.

When asked who owns the vehicle, Alesana told investigators the vehicle belonged to his brother-in-law but he borrowed it to transport his family to school and work because his vehicle is at the mechanic shop.

He said that when he got inside his vehicle, he saw the black pouch, and removed the small baggie containing green leafy and the medium baggie containing methamphetamine and put it inside his pockets before he placed the black pouch under the passenger’s seat.

When asked why he attempted to flee the scene, Alesana told investigators he was worried that he would go to prison because he’s on probation for a drug convictions from last year. He further stated to investigators that his action violated conditions of his probation.


After his initial appearance in District Court, Alesana appeared in High Court for his Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing on the allegation that he violated conditions of his probation after he was arrested in the recent case.

Alesana defense’s attorney told the court that the allegation against his client is based on the new affidavit, and his client has entered a denial to the allegation of non-compliance with conditions of his probation.

The court set the preliminary examination for Alesana’s OSC on Dec. 20th.