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PPD leads to another charge for illegal drugs — marijuana

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested during a public peace disturbance in the Tafuna area is now charged with violating local drug laws, after police officers discovered illegal drugs in his possession.

The government alleges that on Oct. 22nd, 2020 around 9 p.m, the TPS received a call from a woman requesting police assistance due to a fight that had occurred at a restaurant in Tafuna. Several officers responded and met up with the caller who then briefed them about the incident.

As cops approached the caller, they observed three males leaning against a rock wall in front of the restaurant. The caller identified the three men involved in the altercation stating that two of the men had gotten into a fight, where one of the men struck the other causing him to fall to the ground. Meanwhile the third male attempted to stop the two men from fighting.

Police officers approached the three men, apprehended them and placed them in police units while officers continued to speak to the caller and other eyewitnesses about the alleged fight.

Before placing the three men inside police units, all three of them were frisked; and during the pat down one of the three men, later identified as Filisounu’u Vitale, the defendant in this matter, was discovered with what appeared to be a rolled up brown paper bag with a green leafy substance inside one of his pockets.

When asked what it was, Vitale responded, “What do you think it is? It’s weed.”

The three men were transported to the TPS for further investigation.

The incident involving Vitale was transferred to detectives of the Vice & Narcotic Unit, where they estimated the amount of green leafy substance found on the suspect was equivalent to several hand rolled joints. A ‘smoked’ hand rolled “joint” was also discovered in Vitale’s wallet.

Vitale was Mirandized, but refused to sign the statement indicating that he understood his rights. He also refused to make a statement regarding the matter.

The green leafy substance was tested and the test indicated that the substance showed positive for THC (tetrahydrocannbinol), the active compound found in marijuana.

The defendant made his initial appearance before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana, a felony punishable to 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 $5,000.