Almost home when cops pulled him over and he was BUSTED 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 for violating local drug laws after police allegedly discovered drugs in his possession and in his vehicle.
Valaau Tafa, who is on probation for a drug conviction two years ago, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); 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.
On July. 06, 2021, police officers, who were patrolling on the Faleniu public highway, observed a blue pickup turning right onto a family property without any signal. Officers immediately initiated a traffic stop.
Officers observed an unknown male individual (driver) exiting from the driver’s side and walking towards the passenger side of his vehicle. Officers approached the unknown male and saw 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 a traffic stop several weeks ago.
The driver was then instructed to put down the bag but the driver refused to cooperate and questioned the officer about the reason why he stopped his vehicle. The officer explained to the driver that he turned his vehicle without a signal.
Officers asked the driver for his driver’s license, but he refused to comply — refusing to provide a valid driver’s license or any form of identification document — he did verbally state that his name is Tafa.
Officers then informed ‘Tafa’ that his vehicle would be impounded and he was being detained at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation. The driver attempted to get back into his vehicle but was stopped by officers. The driver resisted, yelling profanities and fighting off officers. He was eventually apprehended and transported to the TPS.
During the interview, the driver was identified as Valaau Tafa, the defendant in this matter. Tafa was informed of an outstanding bench warrant issued by the High Court, and a police sergeant then served it on Tafa.
Tafa 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 Tafa’s front pocket. A police sergeant also instructed two other police officers to conduct an inventory of Tafa’s impounded vehicle.
During the inventory of the vehicle in Tafa’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 Tafa’s case was later transferred to the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit for further investigation.
The white crystalline substance discovered in Tafa’s possession tested positive for meth; while the green leafy substances tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.
Tafa was Mirandized, and he stated that he understood and did not wish to sign the first portion of the form and would sign on the second portion, which is a waiver to a verbal statement regarding the incident.
According to Tafa, he does not recall or know anything.
In August of 2019, Tafa was sentenced to five years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 after he was convicted of unlawful possession of meth. He admits that in January of 2018 he had in his possession a stamp-sized baggie containing meth 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.