Traffic stop leads to discovery of alleged ‘guns’ — the slang name for the pipes used to smoke meth
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea has found probable cause to bind over to the High Court, the government’s case against Siapu Anae, a.k.a Tiana Lameta, who is expected to enter a ‘not guilty’ plea this morning during arraignment.
Anae, a female passenger of a vehicle that was pulled over during a traffic stop in Iliili last month made her initial appearance in District Court last week. She is represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart, while Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey is prosecuting.
Anae is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony, punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years, a fine of $5,000-$20,000, or both.
Bail is set at $5,000
During Anae’s PX last Friday, the government called one witness, DPS Det. Motu Tafaovale, whose testimony was apparently sufficient to move the case forward. According to Tafaovale’s testimony, it was during the early morning hours of Nov. 30th, 2019 that two police officers patrolling in the Iliili area pulled over a vehicle with no license plate light.
There were two people in the car — a male driver and a female passenger, later identified as the defendant.
According to the government, the driver is the government’s witness in a stabbing case in Iliili last month, and the female is the girlfriend of the suspect from the same stabbing case.
When cops checked the vehicle’s registration, they discovered that the tags are expired. The vehicle was impounded and the pair was taken in for questioning.
According to Tafaovale, both Anae and the driver were consuming alcohol in the vehicle.
The two were split up and taken into separate rooms for interviews.
According to the government’s witness, the driver was released after questioning. He was issued several traffic citations for the incident.
Anae on the other hand was booked at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) after drugs were found on her.
Tafaovale in his testimony said that during the interview with Anae, the defendant told him she had two guns inside her bag. For safety reasons, Anae was asked to hand the bag over. Tafaovale said he opened the bag and found two glass pipes containing a white crystalline substance, but no guns.
When Tafaovale asked Anae about the two guns, Anae smiled and said, “those are the two guns I was referring to” — pointing her finger to the two glass pipes Tafaovale was holding.
According to the government’s witness, ‘guns’ is the slang name used by some drug users on island for the glass pipes.
Tafaovale continued to search the defendant’s bag and found a stamp sized-baggie containing a white crystalline substance. Both glass pipes and baggie contents tested positive for meth.
When asked about the glass pipes, Anae told police it was a gift from a friend who told her not to reveal his identity to anybody, including police, if anybody questioned her about the drugs.
Anae further stated that she started using drugs a few months ago when her boyfriend gave her a glass pipe to smoke during a birthday party at one of their best friend’s home in Iliili. It was at that birthday party where she met a person who later supplied her with meth, including the two glass pipes found in her bag.
During cross examination, the government witness confirmed that he found the glass pipes in Anae’s bag and he was present when she was searched — body and bag.
When asked if he performed the test on the white crystalline substance allegedly found in the bag, Tafaovale said, “No, it was another police detective who performed the test utilizing a Methamphetamine Field Test kit and positive results were revealed for the methamphetamine.”
Stuart argued that the government failed to present sufficient evidence to bind the case over to High Court, saying the government’s only witness was not the one who performed the test on the white crystalline substance.
Judge Patea said the hearing is to determine if there is sufficient evidence and if there is probable cause to try the defendant in court. He then ruled that the court is satisfied with the evidence presented by the government, that a crime was committed.
THE ASSAULT CASE
The prosecutor informed the court that the government is yet to file charges against Anae for her role in the alleged stabbing case in Iliili, for which her boyfriend is a suspect. Anae’s boyfriend, Lafoga Auau Papalii is charged with first degree assault and attempted murder. He’s being held in custody without bail due to his illegal immigration status. His case is now pending in High Court.
According to the government, police went to Papalii’s residence when they met up with his girlfriend, Anae, who lied to police that Papalii was not home. But according to an eyewitness, Papali’i was at home that time, sleeping.
Police took Anae in for questioning, where she told police that her boyfriend never came home. When police visited the home where Papalii and Anae were staying, Anae come forward and lied to police again, saying her boyfriend was not home.
When police tried to open the room, Anae pushed one of the female officers in an effort to prevent her from entering the room. Cops made their way into the room and found Papalii hiding under the bed.