Man allegedly tries to fight his way out after cops stop him for traffic violation
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A driver of a vehicle pulled over by several police officers last month for violating traffic laws was arrested and charged for violating local drug laws after police allegedly discovered drugs in his possession and in his vehicle.
Jimmy Ualesi, who is on probation for a drug conviction from last year, made his initial appearance in Court last month.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both; along with one count of resisting arrest, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Bail is set $10,000.
On May 06, 2021, four police officers who were patrolling on the Futiga public highway observed a vehicle turning right onto a family property without any signal. Officers immediately initiated a traffic stop.
Officers observed the driver exiting from the driver’s side and walking towards the passenger side of his vehicle, and when officers approached the unknown male, they saw the driver holding in his hand a small black bag.
A police officer then instructed the driver to put down the bag but the driver refused to cooperate. However, one of the officers snatched the bag from the driver, who was then informed of the reason the vehicle had been stopped.
Officers asked the driver for his driver’s license, but the driver refused to comply, refusing to provide any form of identification and only verbally stated that his name is Loti.
Officers then informed the driver that his vehicle would be impounded and he was being detained at the Tafuna Police Sub-Station (TPS) for further investigation. That’s when the driver pushed and shoved one of the police officers and ran away heading west where he was subdued by officers about 10 yards away from the vehicle stop.
The driver continued to resist, yelling profanities and fighting off officers. He was eventually apprehended and transported to the TPS.
During the interview, the driver was identified as Jimmy Ualesi, the defendant in this matter. Ualesi was informed of an outstanding bench warrant issued by the court for his arrest, and it was served to him at TPS.
Ualesi was patted down and officers discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance inside the waistband of his underwear.
Officers also discovered a medium sized baggie containing a white substance in Ualesi’s front pocket.
Police officers also conducted an inventory of Ualesi’s impounded vehicle, in Ualesi’s presence. Officers discovered a medium size baggie that contained green leafy substances in the armrest between the driver and the front passenger seats. Information regarding Ualesi’s case was later transferred to the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit for further investigation.
The white crystalline substance discovered in Ualesi’s possession tested positive for meth. The green leafy substance was also tested with the result testing positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.
Ualesi was Mirandized where he stated that he understood and wished not to sign the first portion of the form and would sign on the second portion, a waiver to a verbal statement regarding the incident.
According to Ualesi, he does not recall or know anything.
In the beginning of last year, Ualesi was sentenced to five years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 after he was convicted of unlawful possession of meth. He admits that on July of 2019 he had in his possession a stamp-sized baggie containing meth when police searched him. He was placed on probation for 5 years and ordered to serve a period of detention.