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Man caught with weed after fight breaks out at local eatery

Just say no to marijuana graphic

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested during a public peace disturbance in the Tafuna area is now charged with violating local drug laws after police officers discovered illegal drugs in his possession during his arrest.

The government alleges that on Dec. 22, 2021 around 9 p.m, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman requesting police assistance due to a fight that had occurred at a restaurant in Tafuna. Several officers responded and met up with the caller who then briefed them about the incident.

As cops approached the caller, they observed three male individuals leaning against a rock wall in front of the restaurant. The caller pointed towards the three men and stated to officers that the three men had gotten into a fight, where one of the men struck the other causing him to fall to the ground. Meanwhile the third male attempted to stop the other two.

Police officers approached the three men, apprehended them and placed them in police units while officers continued to speak to the caller and other eyewitnesses about the alleged fight.

Before placing the three men inside police units, all three of them were frisked; and during the pat down one of the three men, later identified as Lomiga Taupola, the defendant in this matter, was discovered with what appeared to be a rolled up brown paper bag with a green leafy substance inside one of his pockets.

When asked what it was, Taupola responded, “What do you think it is? It’s weed.”

The men were then transported to the TPS for further investigation.

When questioned by investigators, the caller stated that she and her sister along with her son were outside the restaurant when the fight broke out. She stated that the male wearing a green shirt (Taupola) was furious towards the other male. Taupola struck the other man in the face several times before the third male intervened and tried to stop the two men from fighting.

The incident involving Taupola was transferred to detectives of the Vice & Narcotic Unit, where detectives estimated the amount of green leafy substance found on the suspect was equivalent to several hand rolled joints.

Taupola was Mirandized, and refused to sign the statement indicating that he understood his rights. He also refused to make a statement regarding the matter.

The green leafy substance was tested and the test indicated that the substance showed positive for THC (tetrahydrocannbinol), the active compound in marijuana.

The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana, a felony punishable to 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.