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By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 25) - Former airport Executive Manager Gerald Yingling and his Airport Police chief, Pete Daga, were responsible for installing about US$77,000 worth of hidden cameras and listening devices in secure areas of the airport to monitor customs officials, according to Guam Customs and Quarantine Director Rick Blas.

Blas said an independent investigation report conducted by Pacific Security Alarm -- and commissioned by the Antonio B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority and Customs -- was given to authorities yesterday to resolve questions about the hidden cameras found March 2.

The FBI, as part of a joint investigation with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, last month took custody of the mini-surveillance cameras and listening devices found in secure areas where customs agents check arriving passengers.

Neither Yingling nor Daga was available for immediate comment late yesterday.

Current airport Executive Manager Jess Torres has said purchase orders revealed that the cameras were purchased in 2001 but questions remained as to who was receiving the feed from the cameras, after an initial investigation showed the lines leading up to the executive manager's office.

Blas said the PSA report revealed the cameras were installed by Sunny Electronics and the feed was beamed to Daga and Yingling's offices.

"The report says that it is possible that they did watch and listen, however, there is no direct evidence that they did," Blas said.

"They apparently say it was being done to monitor customs officers who were suspected of stealing from passengers but there is nothing to substantiate those statements. I suspect it was really being done because of turf war that was going on at the time."Blas said he would provide a copy of the report to the Pacific Daily News today.

Blas said there were issues with then Customs Director John Quinata and Yingling as to the airport's authority over Customs' operations. Blas said the situation was further aggravated when Yingling's wife was subjected to a search by the Customs K-9 unit.Quinata could not be reached late yesterday evening.

Yingling has told the Pacific Daily News the Federal Aviation Authority had told the airport to "beef up security" after September 11, 2001, and the airport had several cameras installed around the facility.

Yingling has said he didn't know the make of the cameras installed. He has said he also did not know who installed them and where they were placed at the airport. Torres has said some of the purchase orders were for surveillance that ranged from a little less than US$1,000 to more than US$14,000.

Blas said he hopes to meet later today with Torres to discuss the issue.

"My question is, how many of our controlled delivery and our narcotic movement was compromised because of this breach?" Blas asked.

"This is a serious threat. They monitored the movement of my undercover agents and suspects and potentially put the lives of my agents at risk. I've already sent a letter to request the airport not to allow Daga, who is still with the airport police, into any customs area. "

April 26, 2006

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