GPD chief says he won’t discuss police gambling privately as Terlaje suggested

Guam Police Chief Stephen Ignacio (PNC file photo)

Guam Police Chief Stephen Ignacio has spoken about Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje’s comments regarding the ongoing investigation into alleged gambling in the ranks.

Ignacio spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo about the comments made by Senator Terlaje when she spoke with Terlaje last week.

Ignacio said that Terlaje’s suggestion of meeting in private with Ignacio to discuss details of the investigation is legally precarious.

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“I have not been called by the senator or his office to have a private or personal conversation regarding this matter. Should that come up, I definitely will make sure that I keep the AG’s office informed. If anything, we will probably decide at that point. But I don’t know that meeting with him in private, in person, to discuss an ongoing investigation is something that we should be doing,” Ignacio said.

Terlaje, a former police officer, is chairperson of the legislative public safety committee.

He and Senator Frank Blas Jr., the committee vice-chair and also a former police officer, expressed a difference of opinions regarding Terlaje’s comments.

Terlaje had said he would’ve preferred Ignacio go into greater detail about the investigation.

Ignacio said that he can’t go into detail because the investigation is ongoing.

It also isn’t his investigation.

The investigation is being spearheaded by the Secret Service.

“The Secret Service is the one that notified me of the investigation involving the GPD officers. They named one person to me. But I was not provided names of the others, so I don’t have names to conduct a full-scale criminal investigation, and I only opened up an administrative investigation. However, there are other agencies that I believe have moved forward with their investigations, I believe at least administratively,” Ignacio said.

Ignacio said some individuals have come forward and identified themselves during the administrative investigation.

He said they’re now the subject of a criminal investigation by the AG’s office and GPD.

He did not confirm whether or not they were still on duty or on administrative leave, saying the investigation was only opened up, a little over a week ago.

As to Senator Terlaje’s assertion that he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with law enforcement officers gambling if it’s off-duty, Ignacio said that he and the Attorney General’s Office are looking into the statute regarding social gambling to determine the extent to which it applies to the case.

“There is some activity allowed under the social gambling statute. It’s when certain other things are present that push it into a criminal violation,” Ignacio said.

On this matter, the law would seem to agree with Senator Terlaje’s assertion.

Ignacio said that some factors that would determine whether gambling activity is criminal…include whether they’re on or off duty, on government premises, or using government resources such as phones and computers.

Another question is whether they were generating revenue from the activity and how.