GUAM BUSINESSMAN GETS 5 YEARS FOR SAIPAN ARSON

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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 2) - The U.S. District Court of the Northern Marianas ordered a Guam businessman to serve five years in a federal jail for planning the burning of the I-Connect Tower in Mt. Tapuchao five months ago. The ensuing fire also destroyed the property of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. Court District Court Chief Judge Alex Munson also ordered businessman Marvin Leon Guerrero and his co-defendant, Andrew Quiambao, to pay the affected establishments, including the FBI, $567,396.54, for damages incurred in their properties.

Quiambao, who is also from Guam, will serve three years in the FCI Sheridan facility.

He was also told to undergo a 500-hour drug rehabilitation program.

Moreover, the judge ordered Quiambao to undergo financial management program while in jail and to serve a total of 200 hours of community service.

After serving their prison terms, Quiambao and Leon Guerrero will also be placed in supervised release for three years.

During the period of their supervised release, they were ordered not to commit any federal or local crimes; not take illegal drugs; and possess any firearms and dangerous or destructive weapons.

Court papers showed, Leon Guerrero, owner of the Guam-based Communication Specialists Inc., a two-way radio company and competitor of I-Connect, ordered the burning of the I-Connect Tower to Quiambao and John Peter Reyes Mendiola, another suspect, in exchange for money.

The defendants first carried out the arson in last November but failed.

In their second try, they successfully burned the tower last Feb. 7. Quiambao and Mendiola used gasoline to set the tower on fire but investigators later traced it to them.

But the explosion that ensued after the burning also damaged other properties belonging to the FBI, Motorola and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, court papers showed.

The court thereby ordered the defendants to jointly pay I-Connect, $316,200.92; the CGU International Insurance, $160,000; Motorola, $45,931.62, and; the FBI, $45,262, for a total restitution of $567,396.54.

Leon Guerrero, Quiambao and Mendiola separately signed a plea agreement with the U.S. government represented by assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Smith. They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson.

The offense carries a five-year mandatory imprisonment, and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. In exchange for their pleas, the government moved to dismiss other charges against them.

July 2, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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