Woman stopped for traffic violation now faces drug charges
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle pulled over by police last month in Futiga for blacked out tail lights is now charged with violating local drug laws.
On June 21, 2021 around 11 p.m, a vehicle was pulled over by traffic officers in Futiga, after they observed it had blacked out tail lights. Officers approached the driver, who was later identified as Taupou Vili, the defendant in this matter. Police explained to Vili the reason for the traffic stop.
According to the government, Vili did not possess a driver’s license nor did she have any sort of identification on her. She was told the vehicle would be impounded at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) because she didn’t have a driver’s license.
A pat down search was conducted by a female police officer per routine, and a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance, was found in Vili’s left pants pocket.
Inside her right pocket, a hand-rolled cigarette containing green leaves was discovered.
When asked about what was found during pat down, Vili told investigators that she was on her way to visit her boyfriend in Futiga when her vehicle was pulled over by police. She stated that the vehicle she was driving does not belong to her and when she got inside the vehicle, she discovered a glass pipe and one hand-rolled cigarette lying on the vehicle floor, so, she picked them up and put them in her pockets.
After her interview with investigators, Vili was transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where she was booked and confined.
The white residue inside the glass pipe was tested utilizing a field test, which yielded positive results for methamphetamine (meth). The report does not indicate when or where the green leafy substance was tested or the results.
Vili, 35, made her initial appearance in District Court last month.
Vili is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both 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.
Bail is set at $5,000.
In 2013, Vili was sentenced to 5 years probation after being convicted for unlawful possession of marijuana. As a condition of her probation that expired last year, she was ordered to serve 20 months at the TCF.
Vili’s conviction stemmed from an incident where she and her boyfriend were arrested during a public disturbance incident in Tafuna. During a pat down, officers found two hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes on Vili.