Man arrested for drinking on bus, also facing drug charges
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A male passenger arrested for consuming alcohol inside an aiga bus last week is now charged with violating local drug laws when police allegedly found drugs in his possession. St. Augustine Aga made his initial appearance in Court last week. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart, while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General, Laura Garvey.
Aga is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony 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.
Bail is set at $5,000.
During his initial appearance proceedings, defense attorney informed the court that his client requested a preliminary examination (PX).
On Apr. 22, 2020, the Tafuna Substation (TS) received a distress phone call from a female asking for police assistance regarding some male passengers who were consuming alcohol inside an aiga bus heading west on the Nu’uuli road.
Tafuna Substation relayed the matter via radio to units that were on the road and two units with several police officers inside responded and initiated a vehicle stop near the Manu’a store in Nu’uuli (Malaeimi).
Upon conducting an inspection of the passengers, officers observed that there were three males with open alcohol containers. The passengers were later removed from the bus and officers placed them in handcuffs.
One of the passengers that was cuffed by police was identified as St. Augustine Aga, the defendant in this case. Before all the three passengers were transported to the TS for further investigation, they were all patted down for weapons and illegal drugs.
During the pat down, a police officer discovered a bulge in Aga’s right pants pocket, which turned out to be a glass pipe containing white crystalline residue.
The bus was also impounded for further investigation.
The seized evidence from Aga’s pants was tested and the results revealed the white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine.
Aga was advised of his constitutional rights and he informed investigators that he understood his rights and wished to waive them and make a statement regarding the glass pipe found in his possession.
According to Aga’s statement, a friend of his (Aga could not remember the name) gave him the glass pipe. He further stated the friend handed him the pipe and told him “mea ga e pa ai au fika” (translation: do what you want to do with it.
It was during the PX last Friday when the government called their only witness to the stand, Sgt. Talia Seloti, who is also the lead investigator in this case. In his testimony, Sgt. Seloti told the court that it was during the body search on Aga when a glass pipe was discovered on him.
Defense attorney, Stuart asked the witness why the aiga bus was pulled over by police in the first place. The witness told the court that police officers responded to a call from a concerned passenger who was on the same aiga bus with the defendant and other males, who were consuming alcohol inside the bus during the bus’s last trip from town to the west side of the island.
According to the passenger who reported the matter, Aga’s and other male individuals’ behavior inside the bus while consuming alcohol made her uncomfortable.
After hearing the case, Aga was bound over to the High Court for arraignment after Judge Patea was satisfied that the government had presented enough evidence to support their case against Aga.