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Once again speeding vehicle, no seat belt, and no ID, leads to drug arrest

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The driver of a black truck, on which investigators allegedly found drugs and drug paraphernalia has been arrested and charged with unlawful possession of drugs.

Two police officers were patrolling the Nu’uuli public highway on the early morning of Mar. 24th when they observed a black truck speeding, and the driver was not wearing a seatbelt.

The officers initiated a traffic stop and the driver identified himself as Tala Fina, the defendant in this case. He was alone in the vehicle.

Before officers explained to Fina the reason for the stop, the defendant quickly told officers that he forgot his driver’s license at home but it’s still valid. He also told officers that his immigration ID is also still valid but he doesn’t know where he put it.

As they spoke, officers noticed that Fina was nervous and moving around. Fina was informed that they were going to impound his vehicle at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) because he did not have a driver’s license.

Before Fina was transported to the TPS, officers conducted a body search, where they found two glass pipes containing white crystalline substance inside his left rear pocket. Nothing was found inside the vehicle when officers conducted an inventory search.

When asked about the drugs, Fina admitted to police that the methamphetamine belonged to him. He told officers that he only used meth occasionally. Fina apologized to officers for his actions and begged them for a second chance.

Two hours later, Fina’s wife arrived at the TPS with the defendant’s driver’s license and his immigration ID.

The white crystalline substance found inside the two pipes tested positive for methamphetamine.

Fina made his initial appearance in court last month. He later waived his right to a preliminary examination and his case has been bound over to High Court.

Finau, 38, is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, a felony punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years, a fine between $5,000- $20,000 or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.