Incriminating recordings played in Blas sentencing hearing

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Former Yona mayor Jesse Blas (file photo)

Despite a number of objections that evidence presented by the prosecution was a waste of time, the federal government moved forward in painting a picture of how involved ex-Yona mayor Jesse Blas was in the scheme to smuggle drugs into the island.

Blas plead guilty to extortion, and while the case involves drugs, it is not a drug case, according to government attorney Laura Sambataro, who said the case is a white-collar crime.

FBI informant Brenda Kinian’s testimony against the ex-Yona Mayor continued, with her breaking down recorded interactions she had with Blas.

Videos and audio recordings were presented to the court suggesting that Blas had knowledge of the drug smuggling process.

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In one recording, Blas is heard telling Kinian that vacuum sealing methamphetamine would prevent detection. He is also heard telling her to use a fake name for the mail recipient.

The recordings centered around payment for postal boxes at the Yona mayor’s office. While Blas admitted to accepting $300, recordings of payment arrangements were played involving $5,000 and $15,000 transactions.

In court, it was also learned that Blas attempted to push cocaine as he is heard telling Kinian that they’re still working on it.

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood characterized the information brought to light by Kinian as damning. She provided notice that based on the information presented, she is considering ordering an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines as opposed to a downward departure.

This means that Blas may be sentenced closer to the maximum term of 20 years for the white-collar crime.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.