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.
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.