Traffic fines and bench warrants were a big problem — but drug arrest tops them all
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man with several bench warrants including a huge amount of traffic fines owed to the court was arrested last week on allegations of unlawful possession of illegal drugs.
Fred Vaili made his initial appearance in Court last week.
Vaili is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine, a class D felony.
The court established Vaili’s bail at $2,000 cash.
If he posts bond, the court has ordered that he pay his outstanding fines of $850, and adhere to restrictions re his bond release.
During his initial appearance, the defense attorney asked the court to quash the two bench warrants the court issued to arrest his client. He said his client was unaware of his court hearings.
The court informed Vaili that whenever he is ordered to appear in court, it’s his duty to make the court his first priority.
“If you post your bond, make sure you make all of your court appearances; if you fail, the court will find you and hold you at the TCF without bail until the matter is resolved. So, take this first incident as a lesson for you,” the court told Vaili.
Vaili is scheduled to appear in court next week for his preliminary examination.
On June 29, 2021, police stopped a pick up in Nu’uuli during a traffic stop for a false plate.
Police impounded the vehicle and later discovered a clear glass pipe with a usable amount of methamphetamine (meth) inside. A later inventory of the vehicle conducted by two other cops led to the discovery of two glass pipes containing crystalline substances, along with several empty small zip lock baggies commonly used to package meth, on the passenger side.
Three individuals were inside the vehicle: the male driver, who was later identified as Mata Vesi; Vaili, who was sitting on the passenger side, and a female, identified as Vaili's girlfriend.
When police requested a driver’s license from the driver, the man told them he forgot to bring his license with him. When asked for some sort of identification, nothing was produced.
Information from the Fagatogo dispatcher to the investigating officers revealed that the vehicle is registered to Mata Vesi, who had a driver’s license, but it was expired.
During the course of the investigation, Vaili’s girlfriend told cops that there was another glass pipe that Vaili hid under his seat.
Officers went back to the vehicle to check the seat and discovered a glass pipe containing meth.
When questioned by police, the driver said he had no knowledge of the glass pipes and drug paraphernalia that were found inside his vehicle. He said Vaili was the one responsible for everything that was recovered from the vehicle. He further stated to police that he saw Vaili hiding something under his seat when their vehicle was pulled over, but he did not see what it was.
The driver was cited for driving a vehicle with false plates but was later released pending an investigation.
The female passenger was also interviewed and she told police that when they were getting pulled over, she saw Vaili place a glass pipe containing meth under his seat with a pouch. She further told police that Vaili instructed her to hide the glass pipe, but she did not do as she was told.
The female passenger was also released pending further investigation.
When confronted by police, Vaili verbally stated that he doesn't know who owns the glass pipes discovered inside the vehicle, adding that he borrowed the vehicle from the owner to use that week.
Vaili refused to provide a written statement to police.
The crystalline substance from the clear glass pipe discovered on Vaili was tested and yielded positive results for meth.