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Case of gun, drugs, assault, PPD bound over to High Court

Asian man facing 11 charges
Translated by Samoa News staff

A man accused of possessing a handgun and drugs allegedly found during a traffic stop has entered a not guilty plea to several charges before the High Court where he is scheduled to appear again for another hearing on Oct. 25, 2016.

Tao Liu, an Asian man, is facing eleven charges including attempted assault, unlawful possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of controlled substance of marijuana and unlawful possession of controlled substance of methamphetamine, possession of an unlicensed firearm, resisting arrest, careless driving and public peace disturbance.

The defendant’s preliminary examination hearing was held Monday this week before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea, who ruled that the government has sufficient evidence for the case to proceed against the defendant.

Liu is held without bail and the defendant’s attorney had argued for the court to set bail but was denied by Patea, who explained that the decision of no bail was based on among other things, the protection of police officers who took the defendant into custody and the defendant himself.

Liu’s case was bound over to High Court yesterday for his arraignment hearing and he entered a not guilty plea — through his attorney — to all charges.

Court documents state that police officers stopped, on the evening of Aug. 21st this year, a speeding car in Faganeanea. One of the officers approached the driver for his driver’s license, and noted “Liu looked very nervous and refused to provide his driver’s license at first. Liu then started going through a black backpack as if he was looking for his driver’s license.”

The government alleges that Liu was removing items from his backpack and was trying to hide them on the floor of the van and tried to push them backwards with his right leg. Liu then got angry and was very loud when asking the officers to give him a document where they could search the vehicle, at the same time he continued to make movements inside the van as if he was trying to get something or trying to hide something.

It’s alleged that during a police search of the defendant’s vehicle, they uncovered a 45 caliber gun which was fully loaded with live ammunition; cut up straws sealed on both ends containing methamphetamine; two medium sized clear plastic bags containing marijuana; a glass pipe commonly known to b used to smoke ice and a digital scale commonly used to weigh small amount of drugs for sale.

During questioning by the police, Liu admitted that the ice, marijuana and the handgun belonged to him.

Samoan language story is in today’s Lali section.