By Troy Torres
(Tumon, Guam) Yona Mayor Jesse Blas will be arraigned at 3 p.m. today before U.S. District Court of Guam Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan.
Mr. Blas's whereabouts the past week since his recently-unsealed indictment and arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been unknown to the Mayors Council of Guam. "We haven't heard from him in a few days," mayors council executive director Angel Sablan told Kandit News Group. Mr. Sablan did see Mr. Blas at a medical fundraiser for Tamuning Vice Mayor Ken Santos last week Friday.
According to the grand jury indictment against Mr. Blas, a federal confidential informant known only as "Brenda," posed as a major drug dealer and conspired with Mr. Blas to allow her to use U.S. Postal Service mailbox within the village's cluster box system. This is where Brenda would have methamphetamine mailed.
Mayors facilitate the use of the mailboxes within each village's clusterbox system for the U.S.P.S. They are not supposed to charge residents for the use of boxes, unless the resident needs a replacement key. Mr. Blas charged Brenda for the use of the mailboxes and, knowing that the mailboxes would be used to receive drugs, told Brenda that as the mayor, he had the authority to change up the mailboxes she would use to avoid suspicion and detection by postal inspectors.
The conspiracy began before November 21, 2018. On that date, Mr. Blas received $300 from Brenda for the assignment of the mailbox to Brenda.
On December 11, 2018, Mr. Blas received $2,500 from drug proceeds of the sale of drugs coming through that mailbox. The payment from Brenda was for her continued use of the mailbox.
On December 20, 2018, Mr. Blas received another $5,000 from Brenda in exchange for continued use of the mailbox.
On January 12, 2019, Mr. Blas received another $4,000 from Brenda for the mailbox for use in drug trafficking.
On January 15, 2019, Mr. Blas offered to sell access to another mailbox to Brenda and her purported unnamed associates in exchange for $15,000.
On March 21, 2019, Mr. Blas told Brenda that if he did not receive $8,000 from her that Mr. Blas would discontinue Brenda's access to the mailbox the next morning.
On all of the dates listed above, the FBI intercepted phone calls from Brenda to Mr. Blas via wiretaps, in which Mr. Blas "did knowingly and intentionally use, and cause to be used a facility (cell phone) in interstate commerce... with the intent to promote, manage, establish, carry on and facilitate the promotion, management, establishing and carrying on of bribery.
The United States Attorney for Guam and the CNMI, Shawn Anderson, and his prosecutor, Laura Sambataro, provides a notice of forefeiture in the indictment to seize all property of Mr. Blas that was derived from his illegal dealings.
Possibility of vacancy in Office of the Yona Mayor
Mr. Sablan told Kandit News that Mr. Blas has not resigned from office, as of yet, and that the mayor "is innocent until proven guilty."
He did, however, say that should Mr. Blas be incarcerated for a long period of time, rendering him incapacitated to perform his duties as mayor, Mr. Blas either may resign as mayor or be removed from office according to the laws of Guam.
"In that case there will be a special election held within 60 days of the vacancy, but it's premature at this point to plan something like that," Mr. Sablan said.
This is a developing story.