DUI arrest turns into drug bust
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a blue truck that was pulled over by police late last month for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is also being charged with unlawful possession of drugs.
Ualesi Lavasii made his initial appearance in District Court where he was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony; and driving under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor.
On May 21st, several officers patrolling in the Tafuna area witnessed a speeding vehicle heading west bound. The vehicle was pulled over in front of Veterans Memorial Stadium and the driver was identified as Ualesi Lavasii, who failed the field sobriety test and was immediately arrested for DUI.
Lavasii was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning and his vehicle was impounded. A body search netted a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance inside his back pocket. The bulb of the glass pipe was cracked but police were still able to collect residue and test it. The substance was later tested and yielded positive results for methamphetamine (meth).
Lavasii told police he was drinking with a friend in Vaitogii, where he was given the glass pipe containing meth. He said he smoked the glass pipe and then kept it on him.
Police also found in Lavasii’s possession, a bag that he said belonged to him — it contained two empty small green straws and empty stamp-sized baggies.
During his interview with police, Lavasii revealed that he has a pending case in High Court where he was already charged with violating local drug laws.
Lavasii was arrested after armed detectives executed a search warrant on his home and vehicle in January 2020. Lavasii was subsequently charged with unlawful possession of meth with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of meth; unlawful possession of marijuana (weed) with intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of weed — all felonies.
According to the government, it was around October 2019 that a ‘confidential informant’ (CI) provided information to police regarding a home in Tafuna allegedly being used to run drugs. The alleged business was led by Lavasii and another person, and operated out of the small shack behind Lavasii’s house.
A controlled buy was carried out in December 2019 and took place inside Lavasii’s vehicle. In that case, Lavasii was released on a $15,000 surety bond with one of the conditions being that he remain law abiding. His trial is set for May 10, 2023