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Speeder pulled over allegedly found with pot and lots of cash

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a vehicle pulled over by police officers during a traffic stop two weeks ago for speeding is now charged with violating local drug laws.

The driver, Joshua Iuta-Taylor made his initial appearance in court last week. He was representing by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Iuta-Taylor made his initial appearance before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea last week. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, an unclassified felony, punishable by 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.

Preliminary examination is set at Friday, July 24th, 2020 at 1p.m.


Two police officers were patrolling the Iliili road on July 12th, 2020 around 2:49p.m when they observed a vehicle coming from west to the east, speeding. Police officers immediately initiated a traffic stop and pulled over a 2017 Toyota Rav4.

The vehicle is registered to Pepe Ake of Fogagogo.The driver was later identified as Joshua Iuta-Taylor, the defendant in this case. He was alone in the vehicle.

When asked for his driver’s license, the defendant told the officer that he has a driver’s license and that he was issued a citation for not having it in his possession before by another officer.

The officer requested a driver’s license check with Headquarters (HQ) and HQ relayed no information upon request twice. Iuta-Taylor also did not carry an ID that would identify him. For that reason, the defendant was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation and his vehicle impounded.

At the TPS, officers conducted an inventory of the properties inside the vehicle awaiting the owner to pick-up their vehicle. During the inventory search, officers discovered a white box below the rear left passenger seat that contained what appeared to be a clear pipe that is commonly used to smoke marijuana, along with a flowery pattern hand bag that had $247 in currency.

A Vice & Narcotics Unit detective tested the contents inside the glass pipe and results later revealed the substance tested positive for marijuana/THC.

It was later found that Iuta-Taylor does have a driver’s license but it had expired in April 2018.

Officers also found on the defendant’s body during a body search approximately $900 and he stated that it was money for his small loans business that needed to be deposited on Monday, July 13th, 2020.

All properties and items were recorded and taken into evidence.

After reading out his constitutional rights, the defendant informed investigators that he understood his rights and he refused to make a statement.