EMAIL LEADS TO INDICTMENTS OF GUAM POLICE

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Charges range from misuse of government cars to illegal dog
fights

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March 19, 2009) – Weeks after the mass dissemination of the e-mail containing allegations of improprieties against several Guam Police Department officials and officers, the sender remains unidentified. But following the indictments of 10 police officers over the weekend, sources told Variety that the e-mail may have originated from the Dededo precinct.

Incidentally, nine of the GPD employees who were indicted last week were stationed at the Dededo precinct.

Variety sources claimed the indictments were a form of retaliation against the senders of the infamous e-mail, which accused at least 40 uniformed personnel and nine civilians of misconduct and other alleged improprieties at the department.

Many of the claims in the e-mail deal with habitual misuse of government resources and the use of official positions to receive special treatment. Allegations also include as playing poker on the clock, using government vehicles for personal use, engaging in activities involving illegal dog fights.

While acknowledging that there are speculations about the supposed link between the e-mail and the officers’ indictments, police chief Paul Suba said the information about the origin of the e-mail has yet to be determined.

"There are concerns that the e-mail was sent out to pre-empt what they knew was going to happen, as in the indictments," Suba told Variety. "I can’t comment because I don’t know."

He said expressed disappointment with the recent scandals at GPD, saying it will dampen the morale of the department employees.

"Obviously, this is the time when we need each other and the challenges continue to increase," he said.

"But these police officers are made of something different than the average person. They chose this profession, knowing full well they could be a victim either by death, injury, character assassination and possibly being indicted or convicted of committing crimes themselves," Suba said.

Indicted for charges of conspiracy to combat aggravated assault and aggravated assault were Henry C. Flores, Joe M. Duenas, Juan L.G. Diaz, Raynold C. Alcantara, Esmeralda A. Sabinay, Joaquin Q. Castro, Vincent G. Perez, Luke Toniachy (a civilian employee) and Benedette Santos (a Department of Youth Affairs employee). They were accused of assaulting three people identified in court documents as K-Terry Stephen, Jimmy Moses Hadley and Owen Moni on or around Nov. 22, 2008. The alleged incident resulted in Moni being hospitalized to remove his spleen.

In a separate set of indictments, Flores and Alcantara were charged with assault in connection with a 2003 case.

Steven G. Topasna was charged with assault and official misconduct.

Another officer, Frank Vincent Lujan, was indicted for theft and official misconduct.

On Thursday last week, a complaint was filed in court against Burt Carbullido charging him with assault.

Of the government employees indicted, Carbullido, Topasna and Lujan were mentioned in the anonymous e-mail.

Investigations

During a news conference at the Attorney General’s Office on Friday, attorney general Alicia Limtiaco, chief prosecutor Phil Tydingco, and top GPD officials discussed the nature of the cases and the investigation that led to the indictments.

"These cases will proceed through the criminal justice process like any other criminal case. The defendants will be afforded the same rights and processes like any one else who have been accused of committing a crime," said Limtiaco.

Tydingco said the cases have gone under thorough review and investigation by AGO and GPD, but stressed that "the bulk of the investigation were conducted by the police department."

He said some of the indicted officers have been released on their own personal recognizance, while others are likely to be either released under third party conditions or placed under house arrest.

Suba said since the officers are now on administrative leave, GPD will augment the shortage of personnel with shift changes and transfers within the department to help Dededo Precinct.

As for the email, a task force has been formed to investigate and identify the e-mail’s author.

Heading the task force is GPD deputy chief, Bob Camacho.

"I’ve removed from any form of conducting management of the investigation because I was implicated in it," Suba said.

Suba seeks a speedy investigation to exonerate the innocent "who have no criminality related to the opinions of the author, which are all based really on third party information, rumor and innuendo."

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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