3-year sentence for extortion by a public official doesn't deter future corruption

FEDERAL CASE: Yona Mayor Jesse Mendiola Blas, in white shirt, is escorted into the District Court of Guam by federal agents on Sept. 24, 2019 after the federal indictment against him became public. Post file photo. 

The federal government’s confidential informant, Brenda Kinian, 39, said she was never made any promises in exchange for her cooperation with the FBI.

Kinian took the stand during day three of sentencing for former Yona Mayor Jesse Mendiola Blas in the District Court of Guam on Tuesday.

Defense attorney Joseph Razanno questioned Kinian about her plea agreement.

Kinian was part of a separate scam involving a store in Agat that had been robbed in April 2017.

Kinian, who then lived behind the store, told the victims that the FBI was protecting them from further crimes and threats of violence. She demanded and collected $450,000 from the victims in exchange for their protection.

“How do you plan on repaying that money to the victims?” said Razzano.

“That’s the reason why I asked the government if I can go in a cooperation with them. I will see what the court gives me and if it’s less,” said Kinian. “It depends on what the court is willing to tell me.”

“You also tried to get them to give you all of their land to you in Agat. Is that right?” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

“How much money have you received from the United States in either cash or checks since August 2018?” he said.

“They give me $11,000 for me to move to this island and also for other expenses,” she said. “That’s what they give me. They also give me money for my telephone.”

Kinian testified that the feds also paid for about 10 airline tickets for her and her family altogether.

She is off island under federal protection.

Defense also asked Kinian where she would hide the surveillance cameras each time she met up with Blas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Samtabaro objected calling that information a trade secret.

“Did the FBI interview you about the crimes you committed?” said Sambataro.

“Yes,” Kinian said.

“What did you agree to do if anything after the FBI approached you?” Sambataro said.

“I agree to cooperate with them” Kinian said.

The prosecution is set to call up FBI agent Rafael Fernandez to testify on Wednesday afternoon.

Blas faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to a single count of extortion under color of official right for taking bribes in exchange for the use of cluster mailboxes under the jurisdiction of the mayor's office. The mailboxes were allegedly used for drug distribution.

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