A man arrested in connection with a major drug investigation involving large amounts of cocaine was sentenced Tuesday in the District Court of Guam to six months in prison.
Jimmy Afaisen, who pleaded guilty in March to possession of cocaine hydrochloride with intent to distribute, appeared before Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood for sentencing.
"I am deeply sorry for the problems I have caused to society. I had no intention of hurting anyone," Afaisen said.
Afaisen has been receiving treatment at the Lighthouse Recovery Center for the past five months. The court allowed him to complete the six-month inpatient treatment.
"Today, I have no desire to use drugs," he said. "Your Honor, if you can, please give me a chance. I will continue to work on my recovery. I will continue to turn my life around."
Afaisen was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service after he completes the treatment in one month.
Before the sentencing, defense attorney Curtis Vandeveld requested the defendant serve the six-month sentence either through community service or home confinement.
"Because of Jimmy's effort, a large blue container with a substantial amount of cocaine was found at Robert's residence," Vandeveld said.
Robert Afaisen, the defendant's cousin, was also charged in connection with the case.
Vandeveld argued his client provided "extensive cooperation" with investigators and even sought drug treatment on his own.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Sambataro opposed the request.
"He's the one supplying them with the cocaine," Sambataro said. "This is someone who was proliferating a very toxic drug on this island. You need to spend time in jail. You hurt your community."
Tydingco-Gatewood told Jimmy Afaisen he would have to serve his time with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
"This is a very serious and deadly drug," the judge said. "You are not somebody who is innocent."
She recommended that he serve his federal sentence on Guam. The court denied a defense request to allow Jimmy Afaisen "daytime release" so he could continue to work.
Once released from prison, Jimmy Afaisen is to serve three years of supervised release.
More cocaine than before
"Is this an unusual event for us to have cocaine?" Tydingco-Gatewood asked the federal prosecutor during the hearing.
"We were seeing a proliferation. I don't think it's at the level of methamphetamine, but it is a concern," Sambataro said.
The Afaisen cousins were arrested on May 17, 2018.
The two men, along with eight others, were arrested and charged in 2018 in connection with the case.
According to court documents, local and federal authorities arrested Nicholas Glen Frederick on May 10, 2018, in connection with a cocaine trafficking investigation.
Jimmy Afaisen, allegedly identified as Frederick's supplier, reportedly called Frederick as he was being interviewed by law enforcement. Officers then began surveillance on a Shell gas station in Maite, based on the call, and later arrested Jimmy Afaisen.
About 39 grams of cocaine was reportedly found in Jimmy Afaisen's bag.
He allegedly told investigators that he received a little over 2 ounces of cocaine from Robert Afaisen on May 6, 2018.
He then got a call from Frederick on May 10 asking if he was willing to sell an ounce of cocaine to one of Frederick's friends, court documents state.
Jimmy Afaisen reportedly agreed and told Frederick to sell an ounce of cocaine for $600, but if he could sell it for more, the difference would go to Frederick.
Frederick's case and the cases of several others are ongoing in Superior Court.
Robert and Jimmy Afaisen's local drug case was thrown out in January because they were facing charges in federal court.
Robert Afaisen is set to go to trial on Aug. 27 in the District Court.