Passenger in vehicle stopped in Malaeimi found with meth
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Kamuta Faavae is now in custody after he was arrested last week and charged for unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
Faavae, 42, made his initial appearance in court last week. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony that carries a sentence of imprisonment for not less than five years 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.
Preliminary examination is set for next week.
The government claims that on June 15th, 2020 at about 9:25 a.m, several police officers including detectives from the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit responded to an incident involving a vehicle in Malaeimi.
While officers were speaking with the driver of the vehicle regarding his registration together with his driver’s license, one officer observed some paraphernalia inside the car. Two male individuals were inside the vehicle, the driver and a passenger who was later identified as Faavae, the defendant in this matter.
One of the two traffic officers who originated the stop told investigators that he flagged down a vehicle heading west towards Malaeimi with expired tags. He approached the driver of the vehicle and explained the reason his vehicle was flagged down.
The officer further told investigators while he was speaking to the driver, the defendant at the same time was moving around, acting nervous and putting his hands in and out from his pockets and constantly telling another police officer to please let him go.
The defendant and the driver of the vehicle were both informed by police officers that the vehicle was going to be impounded for expired tags, and both of them would also be transported to the Tafuna Police Station for further investigation.
Before the defendant and the driver of the vehicle were transported to the TPS, a pat down search was conducted, in which a glass pipe with white crystalline substance was found in the defendant’s possession. Officers further discovered cut up straws, empty baggies and a broken glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth inside the defendant’s right pocket.
The white crystalline substance was field-tested and the test results yielded positive for methamphetamine.
Nothing was found on the driver of the vehicle and he was later released.
Faavae was read his constitutional rights and agreed to speak to investigators regarding the matter.
According to the defendant’s statement to investigators, he was picked up in Mesepa by his friend (driver of the vehicle). He did not know that his friend’s vehicle tags were expired.
They drove to Iliili to visit the elderly uncle before they planned to head to the Fagatogo market to hang out there before heading back home. They stopped at a store in Faleniu where he went inside to buy food for them. On his way back to the vehicle, he found a bag with a pipe inside lying in front of the store parking lot.
He gave the bag to his friend (driver) but his friend told him to hold the bag. He opened the bag and found paraphernalia such as cut up straws, empty small stamp-sized baggies and a broken glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth.
As they passed Malaeimi, two police officers stationed there flagged them down and the driver pulled over the vehicle and asked him to get rid of the bag. So he put it in his pocket not thinking anything about it, unaware that the vehicle tags were expired, along with his friend’s driver’s license.
Faavae told investigators that he was in jail for a year and he’s just finished two years of Probation. He has been staying clean and he has kids that he has been taking care of and he had stayed away from trouble during his probation.
When questioned by investigators, the driver of the vehicle stated that he works at his uncle’s auto shop in Vaitogi, he doesn’t know Faavae personally, but he knows him from around his neighborhood. The driver stated that he picked up the defendant from Iliili, and he was shocked when a police officer discovered a glass pipe containing methamphetamine in Faavae’s possession.
The driver further stated to investigators as they heading westbound, Faavae asked him if he wanted “some stuff for the night.”
He looked at Faavae and asked him what he meant by “stuff for the night,” and Faavae smiled and whispered, “stuff to make you feel cool.” It was then when Faavae talked about his friend from the area in Vaitogi who always supplies him with “some good stuff.”
According to the driver, he asked Faavae if he was in possession of any illegal drugs. Faavae give him the look and said, “I don’t do those stuff.”
The driver stated that immediately when their vehicle was pulled over by two police officers, Faavae turned to him and said, “Brother, I got some stuff with me that I need to get rid before police officers arrive.” Before the two police officers got to the vehicle, the driver said Faavae started to move around and tried to reach into his pocket for something.