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Passenger who couldn’t sit still gives himself away during traffic stop

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who is on probation for stealing and burglary was arrested again on the allegation he violated local drug laws.

Uiki Moala was a passenger in a white pick-up truck that was pulled over by police last month in Futiga where a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance and a baggie containing green leafy substance were found in his pants pocket.

The government claims that on the early morning of June 19th, 2021, two police officers patrolling in Futiga observed a white pick-up truck with an expired tag on its rear license plate.

Police officers immediately pulled the vehicle over, which had two male individuals inside. Moala, the defendant, was a passenger.

The driver of the vehicle, Matthew Tevaga, the owner of the vehicle, provided his valid immigration I.D and driver’s license to officers. The vehicle registration had expired in May 2019. Tevaga received traffic citations from the officers for violating traffic laws.

While officers were speaking to the driver, the defendant, Moala, opened the passenger’s door and exited the vehicle. He was instructed by an officer to get back inside the vehicle; however, Moala continued to stand outside of the vehicle ignoring the officer’s request.

While Moala was walking around at the back of the vehicle, he tried to reach inside the left pocket of his pants, while at the same time trying to avoid the officer who walked over to him.

Officers instructed Moala to remove his hands from his pocket, but Moala did not comply. Officers immediately arrested and and placed him inside the police unit.

A body search was conducted on Moala where officers discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance inside that later tested positive for meth. Officers also found a small stamp-sized baggie containing green leafy substance during the body search. The green leafy substance was tested and was positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The defendant told officers he got the glass pipe containing meth and the baggie of marijuana from his friend for $50, and the reason he smoked meth is to give him strength while working at his plantation. Marijuana was for his friend.

The driver of the vehicle was also interviewed by police and told officers that Moala flagged him down for a ride and asked him to drop him off at his friend’s in Leone.

According to the driver’s statement, it was on their way to drop Moala to his friend’s house when officers pulled over his vehicle for an expired tag.

Moala made his initial appearance in court. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine not more than $20,000, or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.