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Man who tried to fight his way out of police custody faces drug charges

American Samoa District Court building


A man who was stopped for speeding was found not to have a driver’s license punched and kicked a police officer while resisting arrest, when the vehicle he was driving was searched and illegal drugs were allegedly discovered.

Tovale Filisi made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago.

Filisi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana (pot) — both felonies; along with third degree assault, a misdemeanor and several traffics citations.

Bail is set at $10,000.


The government claims that in the early morning of May 03, 2021, officers, who were patrolling the Tafuna area, pulled over a speeding vehicle heading east. Officers observed the vehicle swerving and overtaking vehicles as it took a wide turn onto the Fagaima road.

Cops stopped the vehicle in front of an Asian store and the driver, later identified as Filisi, did not have a driver’s license or any kind of identification.

After finding out that there was no record of a driver’s license for a Tovale Filisi, officers informed the suspect that he was about to be apprehended.

It was then that Filisi told officers that he was in a hurry and had to rush home because his father needed to use the car to go to work. Officers told the suspect that he needed to calm down while they do their job; however, the suspect kept telling them that he needed to go home.

When cops were trying to apprehend the suspect, he resisted and started a scuffle. Officers tried to pull the suspect out of the vehicle, but the suspect allegedly punched one of the officers in the eye; and then tried to drive his vehicle away while cops were still trying to pull him out.

The scuffle continued but cops were able to handcuff Filisi and transport him to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS). The suspect’s vehicle was impounded.

During inventory of the vehicle, police found a small pouch in the back seat. When asked what was inside the pouch, the suspect shook his head and said, “nothing, it’s just a black pouch.” Officers asked the suspect for consent to open the pouch and the suspect agreed.

Upon unzipping the pouch, cops discovered a small stamp sized baggie with white crystalline substance inside. A more thorough search of the vehicle netted a black backpack under the driver’s seat. The backpack was see-through and officers saw a small glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth.

When asked about the backpack, the suspect said he didn’t know anything about the backpack, or who owns it. In the backpack, however, police found another small glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance; a clear plastic ziplock bag containing a green leafy substance consistent with pot, and several other small stamp sized baggies.

The suspect refused to make a statement to police, saying his head was hurting from the scuffle and he did not want to talk.

The white crystalline substance tested positive for meth while the green leafy substance tested positive for THC, an active ingredient in pot.