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Drugs found after speeders vehicle impounded

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A man involved in a case where 3 males were charged and convicted of assaulting another man during a drinking session a few years ago was arrested last week on drug charges.

Alapati Nuuese made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He later waived his right to a preliminary hearing and the case has been bound over to High Court.

Nuuese is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years, a fine of $5,000-$20,000 or both.

Bail is set at $10,000.


On Oct. 12, 2021 two officers conducted speed enforcement across from an Asian store in Malaeimi. At about 11a.m, they stopped a speeding vehicle that was heading west. Two males were inside. The driver identified himself to police as Alapati Nuuese, and did not have a valid driver’s license on him or any other form of identification. It was later confirmed that his license had expired May 20, 2019.

Nuuese was then told that his vehicle would be impounded at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and he was taken in for further questioning. He was handcuffed and rode in the passenger seat of his vehicle while a cop took the wheel.

Before heading to the police station, Nuuese handed a green army pack to one officer, to give to his passenger (who identified himself to police as Wayne Filo). The cop who handed the green army pack over to Filo asked Filo if it belonged to him. Filo said no, “it belongs to my friend, Nuuese.”

A strong odor of marijuana was detected from the green army pack. For that reason, Filo was then placed in the police unit and the cop held on to the army pack until their arrival at the police station. Once there, the cop returned the green army pack to Nuuese who still claimed that it belonged to Filo. That’s when a senior officer asked him if they could search the green army pack for any form of identification. Nuuese said okay.

The search netted four small stamp-sized baggies containing a white crystalline substance that tested positive as meth, and two small stamp-sized baggie containing green leaf that tested positive for marijuana.

When questioned by police, Filo said he had known Nuuese for only three months and they met during one of his village’s bingo games, and that Nuuese would ask him for help with yard work and on that particular day, he picked him up to help mow his lawn in Tafuna.

According to Filo, Nuuese had the green army pack in his car when he got in the car; and after mowing the lawn in Tafuna, he asked for his help again — this time, with planting taro in Aoloau.

Filo said he agreed and when they were stopped by police, he saw Nuuese stuff the green army pack under his seat and was surprised when the police officer walked up to him saying Nuuese said the green army pack was his.

Nuuese’s vehicle was searched in his presence. Police found a pipe containing white crystalline substance on the floor of the passenger side, wrapped in a white paper; empty small stamp-seized baggies commonly used to sell meth; and 4 cut-up straws. There was also a green leafy substance scattered all over the the floor mat on the passenger side. Two closed off straws were also discovered underneath a soda can in the passenger’s side cup holder.

When questioned regarding the illegal drugs found inside his vehicle and the green army pack, Nuuese told investigators that he purchased the drugs from a man in Vaitogi who supplied him with drugs whenever he needed them.