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Customs cop arrested for DWI; under IA investigation; faces disciplinary action

By Eric Rosario

Customs director Ike Peredo said his chief of customs has launched an internal affairs investigation to determine whether a customs officer will be disciplined following a weekend arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Ralph Sgambelluri, Jr., a customs officer, was weaving in and out of traffic before a Guam Police officer F.B. Castro pulled him over at 2:06 a.m. Saturday along Marine Corps Drive Dededo. The officer noted a strong odor of alcohol once Mr. Sgambelluri rolled his window down.

According to prosecutor Rolland Wimberley in his declaration of probable cause bringing a DWI charge against Sgambelluri, the customs officer admitted to Mr. Castro "that he had consumed a few beers."

According to Guam law: "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and any drug, to drive or be in actual or physical control of any vehicle."

The Wimberley declaration states Mr. Sgambelluri's eyes at the time of the arrest were bloodshot and watery, and that his speech initially was incoherent. A portion of the declaration describes Sgambelluri as a man too drunk to stand on his own, let alone drive:

"When the Defendant stepped out of the vehicle, the officer noted that he was unable to maintain his balance and had to brace himself by holding onto the vehicle. The Defendant had the strong odor of an intoxicating beverage emitting from his body and clothing. The officer had the Defendant sit in the rear left side of the patrol vehicle for safety reasons." - excerpt from magistrates report on Sgambelluri

A DWI charge is a misdemeanor. If convicted, it is unclear whether the law directs the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency to terminate Sgambelluri's employment. According to the peace officer statute: "Notwithstanding any other law or Civil Service requirements, a person who is convicted of a felony, a crime of moral turpitude, or a crime of domestic or family violence after his appointment as a peace officer is ineligible for continued employment as a peace officer."

"The chief of customs has launched an internal review to determine whether the agency will be pursuing any disciplinary action against the employee," director Peredo said.

The full magistrates report by Mr. Wimberley follows:

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