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Man blames his uncle for drugs allegedly found in vehicle he was driving

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested by police three weeks ago is now charged with unlawful possession of illegal drugs after police discovered drugs on his person and in his vehicle when he was pulled over during a traffic stop in Malaloa, on Aug. 4th.

The vehicle was stopped for speeding while heading east in Fagatogo. The driver, who identified himself as as Laulu Anesi, the defendant in this matter, was alone in his vehicle and seemed very surprised that he was stopped and questioned why.

One of the officers told Anesi that he was pulled over for speeding, however, Anesi told officers that he was driving at a normal rate of speed. The officer then provided Anesi with proof of why his vehicle was pulled over — but the police report does not detail this proof. 

When asked for his driver’s license, Anesi told officers that he forgot his license at home and his license is also expired. He only provided another expired photo ID to confirm his identity.

Anesi was informed that his vehicle would be impounded because he didn’t have a valid driver’s license. Anesi was also informed that he would be put in police custody and transported to the Fagatogo Police Headquarter (FPH) for further investigation.

Before Anesi was transported to the FPH, a body search was conducted and a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance and two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes (joints) were discovered in his rear pocket.

An inventory search was conducted on the vehicle and police discovered two small stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance under the passenger’s seat. 

When questioned about the illegal drugs found inside his vehicle, Anesi said that the drugs did not belong to him, but to his uncle who owns the vehicle. He told police that he borrowed his uncle’s vehicle four days prior to the traffic stop to transport his crops to the market, and that two days before he was pulled over, he was shocked when he found drugs inside the car while he was cleaning it. 

He then took the glass pipe containing meth and two hand rolled joints and put them in his pocket. Anesi said he did not know that there were also drugs under the passenger seat.

Anesi made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.

Anesi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies punishable by imprisonment from 5- 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.