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By Ferdie Dela Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 4) – An alleged former member of the notorious Philippine-based terrorist group Abu Sayyaf was arrested Friday in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Detective Christopher Leon Guerrero served the arrest warrant on 48-year-old Roger Samortin Castillo in Garapan at 11:30 p.m.

Castillo, a Filipino farmer, was brought before Superior Court Associate Judge Juan T. Lizama for a bail hearing. Lizama ordered that the bail remain at US$1,000 for Castillo's temporary release.

The respondent informed the court that he is going to represent himself in court during the hearing to show cause why he should not be deported from the CNMI.

On Friday morning, the Attorney General's Office asked the public for assistance in locating Castillo.

Superior Court Associate Judge David A.Wiseman issued on Thursday an arrest warrant against Castillo after the Division of Immigration filed a deportation case against him.

Immigration Investigator Erwin Flores stated in court documents that Castillo entered the Commonwealth under a nonresident worker's permit status. The permit expired on March 5, 2005.

On Nov. 5, 2004, the government charged the farmer with assault and battery for beating his wife. The government later filed another information charging the defendant with disturbing the peace, assault, two counts of assault and battery, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and child abuse.

Following a plea agreement, Lizama sentenced the defendant to one year in jail, all suspended except for the time he had already served in prison from Oct. 29, 2004 to Dec. 28, 2005.

According to court papers, Castillo had been in the special forces of the Philippine military for three years and that he is also allegedly a former member of Abu Sayyaf.

Abu Sayyaf is a terrorist militant Islamic group operating in the southern part of the Philippines. The group is responsible for a spate of bombings, assassinations and kidnappings of foreigners, priests, businessmen, teachers, and even ordinary citizens.In other court news, man who was arrested by members of the Department of Public Safety's elite Tactical Response Enforcement Team for allegedly breaking into Mar-Pac Co. in Gualo Rai on Friday early morning, was taken to court yesterday.

John Richard P. Guerrero, 29, was detained for burglary and theft, criminal mischief, and illegal possession of a controlled substance.

January 4, 2006

Saipan Tribune

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