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Man says drugs found by cops do not belong to him — he borrowed the car

American Samoa DIistrict Court building
Meth and marijuana found after speeding vehicle stopped

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle pulled over by police officers during a traffic stop three weeks ago for speeding is now charged with violating local drug laws.

The driver, Frank Anitepa made his initial appearance in court three weeks ago. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of meth, both unclassified felonies, 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 $10,000


Police officers stopped a vehicle for speeding on June 25, 2021 on the Nu’uuli road in the afternoon. The driver was later identified as Frank Anitepa, the defendant in this case, and the pickup was found to be registered to Siaosi Anitepa, the defendant’s sister.

Anitepa, 36, did not have his driver’s license on him and was duly issued a citation. He did not have any other type of ID either, which led to the defendant being transported to the TPS, while his vehicle was impounded.

Before Anitepa was escorted to the TPS, he was asked by officers if he had anything illegal on him, and he told police that he did. He further stated that the illegal drugs on him did not belong to him.

Officers then conducted a body search on Anitepa and discovered three small stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance in the left pocket of his pants.

Upon arrival at the TPS, officers conducted an inventory of the property inside the truck and discovered a brown box under the rear left passenger seat that contained what appeared to be a clear pipe that is commonly used to smoke marijuana, along with a black bag and a wallet that had $230 cash in it.

The Vice & Narcotics Unit was called, and one of its detectives tested the contents of the small baggies with results pointing to positive for meth, while the contents inside the glass pipe tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.

Officers later found out that Anitepa does have a driver’s license, but it had expired in July 2019.

Officers also found on the defendant during a body search approximately $430 and he stated that it was money for his small business that needed to be deposited on the following Monday.

All property and items were recorded and taken into evidence.

After being Mirandized, the defendant informed investigators that he understood his rights and he agreed to make a statement about the incident.

According to Anitepa, he has a small business at home. He works at his small farm at home and every Monday, he deposits money he earns during the week including over the weekend. He told investigators that he sell his crops at his house instead of going to the Fagatogo market and people come to his place to buy what ever they want.

Anitepa’s vehicle was pulled over by police on a Saturday afternoon.

When asked about the illegal drugs discovered in the vehicle and in his possession, Anitepa told investigators that he found the illegal drugs inside the vehicle and they do not belong to him.

He also told investigators that the vehicle belongs to his sister’s father-in-law and he borrowed it to run his errands, because his pick-up truck is at the mechanic shop.