Man already serving two probations — busted for drugs AGAIN
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 44-year-old man who is on probation after being convicted of felony drug possession is now back in custody after police allegedly discovered a quantity of illegal drugs in his possession during a traffic stop last month in Iliili.
Panapa Logovi’i is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, both felonies which carry an imprisonment sentence between 5 to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or both; along with one count of resisting arrest, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Logovi’i made his initial appearance in District Court last month where the court set a $15,000 surety bond.
The preliminary hearing is now scheduled for Thursday next week, Nov. 12, 2020 at 9a.m.
Court records show that Logovi’i is on probation from both District Court and High Court.
The government’s case against Logovi’i stems from an incident that occurred on Sept. 5th about 6:19p.m when two police officers patrolling the Iliili public highway spotted a truck heading westbound with an expired license tag.
Officers radioed the dispatcher for a quick check on the status of the license plate, with the dispatcher stating that it had expired two years ago.
Officers pulled the vehicle over and approached the driver to explain the purpose of the stop. One male individual, the driver was inside the vehicle when officers pulled him over. He was later identified as Logovi’i, the defendant in this matter.
Logovi’i argued that he had renewed his vehicle registration in November of last year. And, while officers were speaking with the defendant, one officer saw the defendant trying to reach into his right pocket.
When officers instructed the defendant to turn off his engine and step outside, the defendant resisted and started to move his vehicle forward. A few moments later, the defendant agreed to comply with police. As it turned out the defendant also did not possess a valid driver’s license — it also had expired two years ago.
The two officers then impounded the vehicle and transported it to the Tafuna Police Substation, where one of the officers started issuing citations to the defendant for the violations and further informed the defendant that the vehicle would be inventoried because it was being impounded.
A pat-down was also conducted on Logovi’i per normal procedures where a medium sized baggie was found in the defendant’s right pocket. Inside the medium baggie were two small stamped-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance.
During the inventory search of the vehicle — with the defendant present — police observed a black pouch underneath the passenger seat. Inside the black pouch were 3 cut-up straws containing white crystalline substance.
Immediately after the alleged discovery of the white crystalline substance on the defendant and inside his vehicle, a police lieutenant contacted the DPS Vice and Narcotic and K9 Unit for assistance for further investigation. The search of the vehicle was stopped at that time and the defendant was taken back inside the substation to await their arrival.
Upon arrival of two police lieutenants from the Vice and Narcotic Unit (VNU), the traffic officers handed over the plastic baggie containing the white crystalline substance to the officers of VNU, who immediately took over the investigation.
The white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine.
The defendant was Mirandized and then made a verbal statement about the incident.
According to Logovii’s statement to police, the methamphetamine found in his possession and inside his vehicle does not belong to him. He said that when he got inside his vehicle, he witnessed the medium baggie inside the black pouch.
He removed the baggie containing methamphetamine and put it inside his pocket before he placed the black pouch under the passenger’s seat.
However, during the course of the interview, Logovii changed his story and according to his statement, admitted that the illegal drugs found in his possession and inside the vehicle belonged to him.
He bought the drugs from his old friend’s house in Vaitogi, he said. Logovi’i provided the location of his friend’s house along with his name and contact information to investigators.
DEFENDANT’S ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE (OSC) HEARING
After his initial appearance in District Court, Logovii appeared in High Court for his Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing on the allegation that he violated conditions of his probation after he was arrested in the recent case.
His defense attorney told the court that the allegation against his client is based on the new affidavit, and his client has entered a denial to the allegation of non compliance with condition of his probation.
Defense attorney further told the court that he needs more time to speak to his client regarding the new allegation.
The court set the preliminary examination for Logovi’i in two weeks time to allow him and his attorney to discuss more about this case.
In May of last year, the court sentenced Logovi’i to probation, with jail time, after he was convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
Logovi’i was ordered to serve 20 months in jail as one of the conditions of a 5-year probation term, of which he was to serve 7 months, which included the 5 months he had already served in pretrial confinement. The remaining 13 months were stayed as long as he was in compliance with conditions of his probation.
He was also banned from entering any bars, taverns, or businesses that sell alcohol, and he was not to congregate with people who were doing drugs or consuming alcohol.
Logovi’i, a citizen of Samoa was also ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the remaining terms of his probation. However, the court stayed this condition based on his good behavior.