Judge weighing release of Yona mayor

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Mayor Jesse Blas was arrested on federal extortion and bribery allegations.
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Innocent until proven guilty. While Yona Mayor Jesse Blas has been detained for the last 30 days relative to extortion-related drug conspiracy charges, his attorney contends that his pre-trial incarceration violates his clients’ rights as it was based on Blas being a general threat to the community.

He argued that the detention was ordered on the basis that Blas posed a general danger to the community in direct violation of the 8th amendment and the bail reform act.

According to Blas lawyer Atty. Joseph Razzano, determining whether a threat exists can not be generalized and evidence must show that Blas poses a threat to a specific person or the government’s case through obstruction of justice.

Neither of which Razzano says was brought to the table as he indicated that the allegations made by FBI agent Rafael Fernandez are all hearsay, including accusations that Blas used his connections in law enforcement and had a Guam Police Department officer pay a visit to the confidential informant Brenda’s home to threaten her.

Although the government argued that the threat was sufficient enough to have the informant placed under protective custody and removed off-island to an undisclosed location, Razanno contended that her relocation means that Blas no longer poses a danger to her.

Razanno also shot down statements previously made by the FBI that Blas could use his connections to GPD, the Judiciary of Guam (JOG) Marshals and the Department of Corrections stating, that in the last 30 days Blas has not used his “tentacles” to reach into the law enforcement community.

He further argued that at the time of the detention hearing, the US probation office did not oppose his release and that no conditions of release were considered such as home detention.

The government argued that home detention was not an option as they believe there is no guarantee that Blas would not use his public office position to continue criminal acts.

Blas continues to hold the position as Yona Mayor but as Mayors Council of Guam Executive Director Angel Sablan points out, direction in this case is unclear.

“He is still the mayor of Yona and nothing in the hearing today changed that. The only thing that we are concerned about is his ability to function as a mayor. We asked for an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General as to how to proceed in this case and they were indefinite. They don’t know because the statute is silent, it doesn’t consider it. So, as far as I am concerned, he is still the mayor of Yona,” Sablan said.

Blas’ administrative leave expired two days ago and he is now on annual leave. Once that annual leave runs out Sablan says if Blas’ status continues as mayor he will be placed on leave without pay. But if he is released whether or not he will be able to carry out his duties as mayor is dependent on the stipulations set forth in the conditions of release.

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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.