Frequent online shoppers could pay Guam 'use tax'

USE TAX: The U.S. Postal Service facility in Barrigada is shown in April 2018. A proposed law would require the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency to enter into an agreement with the Postal Service toward the collection of a "use tax" for items brought into Guam through the mail including through online shopping. Post file photo

Former U.S. Postal Service worker Michelle Dudkiewicz, 43, was sentenced today in the District Court of Guam for her role in a drug-trafficking operation.

She pleaded guilty in February to the charge of using a communication facility – in this case a phone – for her role in the drug-trafficking operation, which took place between March 2015 and February 2016. Dudkiewicz received money and drugs in exchange for using her past job to help drug traffickers locate and track packages containing crystal methamphetamine.

Dudkiewicz could have received up to four years in prison with a $250,000 fine, but Judge John Coughenour agreed to Dudkiewicz's sentence request in which federal public defender John Gorman said the 15 days already served, one year of probationary supervised release and a $100 special assessment fee were a "fair, just and reasonable sentence."

"It's in society's best interest for her to not have a lengthy jail sentence," Gorman said, admitting his client had kicked her drug habit, was holding a new job and was still a single parent to an 8-year-old daughter.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Black concurred with the sentencing request and said Dudkiewicz had agreed to testify in a major case that may plead out, but in which no indictments had been handed down yet.

"She would be an important witness, but it hasn't happened yet," Black said.

Dudkiewicz apologized to her friends, family and children and admitted she had already lost a lot.

Coughenour agreed to the request after saying he was surprised by the government's agreement with it, a move he called "classy."

'Nothing is as bad as meth'

The judge had Dudkiewicz turn around and apologize to her adult son standing in the courtroom, and asked her to remember that she has responsibilities to him and her 8-year-old if she ever again feels the need to get involved with meth.

Coughenour then said he was "stunned at the level of methamphetamine on this island," noting what he'd seen in his time in Washington "paled in comparison to what you have."

"I've seen all sorts of drug problems and cases in my 36 years (on the bench)," he said, listing cocaine, heroin, angel dust and PCP, among others. "Nothing is as bad as meth."


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