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Marijuana found during traffic stop lands man back in custody

Just say no to marijuana

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 26-year-old man who was released by the court two months ago on his own recognizance under the condition that he remain law abiding and stay alcohol and drug free, is now facing felony drug charges after he was re-arrested two weeks ago for alleged possession of marijuana.

Iakopo Tafuna’i made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago.

Tafuna’i, who was charged last month with public peace disturbance (PPD), a class B misdemeanor, is now charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years and a fine of $5,000-$20,000.

Bond is set at $10,000 and a preliminary examination is set for Friday, July 10, at 10a.m.


On the evening of June 12th, detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit received information regarding a truck that was pulled over by traffic cops on the east side of the island. Illegal drugs were allegedly discovered in the back seat of the vehicle.

During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the driver, Tafuna’i, was released two months ago on his own recognizance.

A search of the vehicle, conducted in Tafuna’i’s presence, uncovered a black pouch in the back seat of the truck containing a medium plastic baggie holding 5 rolled cigarette joints (green leafy substance) that appeared to be marijuana. Also inside was a wallet with Tafuna’i’s driver's license and personal documents.

Police also discovered a separate medium sized plastic bag, containing cash and rolling papers. After the vehicle was searched, Tafuna’i was taken into custody for further questioning.

In his statement to police, Tafuna’i admitted that the vehicle, along with the illegal drugs discovered inside the black pouch, all belonged to him. He told investigators that he had just returned from delivering drugs to three other people, and he got the marijuana joints from another male, and he was selling each joint for $10.

Police noted the name of the person Tafuna’i said he got the drugs from.

The green leafy substance that was found in the vehicle tested positive for marijuana.