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Arrested: Marijuana and glass pipes allegedly found on passenger after traffic stop

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Passenger fled, but chased down by driver of vehicle, 2 other men, and officers

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is on probation for stealing and burglary was arrested again by police on the allegation he violated local drug laws.

Ualesi Tifaimoana was a passenger in a white pick-up truck that was pulled over by police two weekends ago in Vailoa where two glass pipes (commonly used to smoke meth) containing white crystalline substance and a baggie containing green leafy substance were found inside his pants pocket.

The government claims that on the early morning of July 12, 2020 around 6:45a.m, two police officers patrolling the Vailoa public highway observed a white pick-up truck with an expired tag on the rear license plate.

Police officers immediately pulled the vehicle over with two male individuals inside. Tifaimoana, the defendant, was sitting in the passenger seat.

The driver of the vehicle, Victor Unasa is the owner of the vehicle, who provided his valid immigration I.D and driver’s license to officers. The vehicle registration is valid until August 2020. Unasa received 4 traffic citations from the officers.

While officers were speaking to the driver, the defendant, Tifaimoana, opened the passenger’s door and exited the vehicle in an effort to flee the scene. However, he was instructed by an officer to get back inside the vehicle but Tifaimoana continued to walk to the back of the vehicle while at the same time trying to reach inside the left pocket of his pants.

As the other officer walked over to the area where Tifaimoana was standing, Tifaimoana immediately took off and ran to the other side of the road and continued fleeing from the officer. Officers, along with the help from the driver of the vehicle and two other males chased Tifaimoana for few minutes before he was apprehended in front of an Asian store.

A body search was conducted on Tifaimoana where officers discovered two glass pipes containing white crystalline substance inside. The white crystalline substance was tested and turned out positive for methamphetamine. Officers also found a small stamp-sized baggie containing green leafy substance during the body search. The green leafy substance was tested and turned out positive for marijuana.

The defendant told officers he got the two glass pipes containing meth and one baggie containing marijuana from his friend for $50, and the reason he smoked meth is to give him strength while performing his work at his plantation. The marijuana was for his friend.

The driver of the vehicle was also interviewed by police regarding Tifaimoana’s presence in his vehicle during the traffic stop. The driver told officers that he went to drop his wife off to her work place when Tifaimoana flagged him down for a ride. After dropping his wife at her work place, he returned and picked up Tifaimoana where he (defendant) asked him to drop him at his friend’s in Vailoa.

According to the driver’s statement, it was on their way to drop Tifaimoana to his friend’s house when officers pulled over his vehicle for an expired tag.

Tifaimoana made his initial appearance in court. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by term of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine not more than $20,000, or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.