Cops snag drugs during traffic stops
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with a 2-year-old bench warrant for failure to appear in court for a disposition hearing back in February 2018 was arrested by police during a traffic stop at Mesepa and is now in custody.
Mareko Muliaga made his initial appearance in High Court this week, and his next court date is May 22nd.
His probation review stems from a case in 2014, when he was convicted for his involvement in burglarizing two homes in Leone that resulted in the removal of two laptops and other essential items valued at an estimated $5,000
When questioned by police, two juveniles identified Muliaga as being involved in the burglary. According to the minors, Muliaga served as the ‘lookout’, while they, along with two male adults, entered the two homes and removed the laptops and accessories.
On Oct. 10, 2014, Muliaga was sentenced to 7 years probation after he pled guilty to stealing. As a condition, Muliaga was ordered to serve 28 months and remain law abiding.
In 2018, Muliaga was convicted in District Court for stealing, a class A misdemeanor — a clear violation of the conditions set forth in his 2014 probation sentence handed down in High Court.
On July 31, 2018, Muliaga was scheduled to appear in High Court for a Disposition Hearing; however, he failed to appear. That’s when a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Last week, Muliaga was apprehended during a traffic stop in Mesepa, when police officers pulled over a gray SUV for speeding. Two men were inside the vehicle, it was the driver and Muliaga.
Both Muliaga and the driver of the SUV were transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning after police discovered half of a rolled marijuana cigarette inside the vehicle.
Muliaga told police that the half marijuana joint belonged to the driver of the vehicle.
It’s not clear at this time whether the government is going to file charges against the driver of the SUV. Muliaga is now in custody without bail, awaiting his next court appearance.
A 39-year-old man who was pulled over for a traffic violation is being criminally charged, after police allegedly found illegal drugs in his possession.
Alfred Vui appeared in District Court last Friday for a traffic citation, he was ordered to return to court on Monday of this week for a status hearing.
When Vui showed up in court, he was served with an arrest warrant, attached to an affidavit supporting two felony charges against him.
Vui is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of marijuana, both class D felonies, punishable by a jail term of 5-10 years and a fine of $5,000-$20,000.
If he is able to post a $5,000 bond, Vui is ordered to comply with standard conditions, including not making any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, and not leaving the territory.
Preliminary examination is set for Friday next week, Apr. 10th.
The government claims that around 7 p.m., on Mar. 22nd, police received information regarding a person named Fred who had just threatened a couple in front of the Veterans Stadium by telling them that he would kill both of them if they continued to spread rumors about him (Vui) selling illegal drugs from his home.
According to the caller to police, Fred was sitting in the passenger seat while a female was the driver of the vehicle.
After the vehicle was spotted and pulled over by police, Vui was immediately placed under arrest and was transported to Tafuna Substation for questioning.
Before Vui was transported to the police station, police conducted a body search for weapons or illegal drugs.
During the body search, police discovered two small stamp-size baggies containing white crystalline substance in his left pocket. Also found inside Vui’s right pocket were two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes.
When questioned by police, Vui admitted that the illegal drugs found on his possession belong to him. He told police that he bought these illegal drugs from a man who was selling illegal drugs at the Fagatogo market two days prior.
Regarding the allegation that he made threatening remarks to a couple at the VA stadium, Vui admitted it and told police that he was disappointed when that couple spread rumors in their village saying that he was selling drugs from his home.
According to Vui’s statement to police, “I’m not a drug dealer, I’m a drug user.”
In 2014, Vui was convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana, and subsequently sentenced to 5 years probation under the condition that he serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF). His probation term ended last year.