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Traffic stop nets a self confession from man of DUI and “I also got some stuff on me”

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A driver of a pick-up truck pulled over by police officers last month for failure to stop at a stop sign is now charged with violating local drug laws and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

Emele Lisona was taken into custody when police discovered two small stamp-sized baggies containing white crystalline substance in his possession.

The government claims that Lisona was stopped along the Iliili highway on the afternoon of Sept. 28th, 2021, when the pick-up truck he was driving, coming from the Vaitogi road, made a right turn without stopping at a stop sign.

The pick-up truck almost collided with another vehicle coming from the Tafuna road heading west.

After informing the driver regarding the reason for the traffic stop, the driver was identified as Emele Lisona, a 29-year old male from Tafeta. He told police that he was in a rush to pick up his mother from home to take her to work.

During the conversation, officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver’s breath. When asked if he’s under the influence of alcohol, the driver replied, “Yes, and I also got some stuff on me.” Officers asked the driver what stuff he’s referring to, the driver replied, “illegal meth”.

It was at that time the driver pulled out two small baggies containing a white substance and handed it over to police officers. A pat down was conducted and nothing else was found. The driver was later transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for further investigation. His vehicle was also impounded by police.

After being Mirandized, Lisona told investigators that he understood his rights and refused to make a statement. He told investigators he needed to speak to his attorney about what happened.

Lisona made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.

He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, a felony, along with a class A misdemeanor charge of DUI.

Bail was set at $5,000 and Lisona is scheduled to appear in court next week for his preliminary examination.