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Man on probation for a drug conviction faces the same charges again

American Samoa District Court building
ausage@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of three who is on probation after being convicted of unlawful possession of meth and stealing is now back in court for another alleged drug offense.

Eveni Folau made his initial appearance in Court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), 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; along with one count of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Bail is set at $10,000.

THE CASE

On the evening of June 15, 2022, Vice and Narcotics (VNU) were informed of a traffic stop by patrol officers where they later discovered drugs and paraphernalia.

Detectives from the VNU responded to the call from the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and were told by the officers that they stopped a red pickup truck with expired tags, in Tafuna, after they ran the plates with the OMV system and confirmed the vehicle’s tags were expired.

The driver was later identified as Eveni Folau, the defendant in this matter.

Officers discovered that Folau did not possess a driver’s license or any form of identification. The driver and his vehicle were then impounded at the TPS for further investigation.

When cops asked Folau to step out of his vehicle, he refused. When officers tried to pull Folau out of his vehicle he kept resisting and further punched one officer in his chest.

At the TPS, an inventory of the vehicle was conducted by officers in the presence of the driver where officers discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance, along with a small stamp-sized baggie also containing a white crystalljne substance. There were also drug paraphernalia found.

When asked about the items found, Folau stated that items found belonged to his father-in-law who he had just dropped off in Nu’uuli prior to being pulled over by police.

Folau refused to make a statement to police after he was Mirandized.

BACKGROUND

On May 30, 2019, Folau pled guilty to the amended count of unlawful possession of meth and was sentenced by the High Court to a term of probation of 5 years and a $2,000 fine. The execution of the term of imprisonment was suspended and the defendant was placed on probation for a period of five years with the usual terms and conditions, to which the defendant agreed.

Folau’s conviction stemmed from an incident where the government claims that on Aug. 23, 2018 police stopped Folau’s vehicle for no license tags.

It was then that officers discovered that the vehicle had a different license plate on the back and the front — and the license plate light was out. Officers requested a quick check on the status of the two license plates, with the dispatcher stating that each license plate had expired four years ago.

Officers stopped the vehicle and Folau was also found to not possess a valid driver’s license. The vehicle was then impounded and Folau taken to TPS.

An inventory search of the vehicle was conducted and police found a red plastic baggie, containing a white crystalline substance, inside a lighter socket next to the steering wheel, about which Folau denied knowing anything.

DPS Vice and Narcotic and K9 Unit was contacted for assistance to further the investigation.

The white crystalline substance was lated tested and was positive for meth.

The defendant was Mirandized and made a verbal statement about the incident. He admitted to using expired license plates, but said he couldn’t see what the cops were doing and he was talking on the phone with his uncle when they were doing his vehicle inventory.