US attorney: Yona mayor is a danger to the community

MAYOR: Yona Mayor Jesse Mendiola Blas, in white shirt, is escorted into the District Court of Guam by federal agents on Sept. 24 after he was arrested in a federal corruption case. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

Federal prosecutors argue that Yona Mayor Jesse M. Blas is a danger to the community and that the District Court of Guam should deny his request to be released from custody.

Blas said he's being held in violation of the law and his detention should be revoked.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Sambataro filed the government's opposition on Tuesday, arguing the mayor posed a danger to the community because he used his position to give drug traffickers access to mailboxes intended for village residents in order to receive packages of narcotics, court documents state.

The government's opposition includes a transcript of Blas' arraignment hearing held last month where he pleaded not guilty to extortion and bribery charges.

During the hearing, FBI Agent Rafael Fernandez testified that Blas had threatened a government informant multiple times, to include an incident in which a Guam police officer threatened the informant at her home on the mayor's behalf.

Sambataro contends it was entirely proper for the court to detain Blas once a finding was made by clear and convincing evidence that he is a danger to the community, documents state.

Mayor wants out of prison

Defense attorney Joseph Razzano filed an amended motion on Tuesday which asks the court to revoke Blas' detention.

An initial defense motion was filed on Oct. 2.

The defense argues Blas has no significant criminal record and the government does not allege that Blas committed a crime of violence where he faces a term of imprisonment of 10 or more years.

Razzano contends the court made an error. He argued the plain language from Congress – and precedent-setting cases from federal courts that have previously reviewed the issue – confirm that the order to detain Blas was erroneous.

The motion states the government’s flawed argument led to a wrongful detention order that has deprived Blas of his rights under the Eighth and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The defense asked the court to release Blas immediately with whatever conditions the court feels are appropriate.

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