Man who found cocaine washed ashore sentenced

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Robert Afaisen is not a drug dealer, says his attorney John Gorman who spoke openly in court, telling Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood that he just made a bad decision.
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A man who has been dubbed the kingpin in a cocaine distribution ring has been sentenced in federal court but not before his attorney described him as the most “amateur” drug dealer to come before the District Court.

Robert Afaisen is not a drug dealer, says his attorney John Gorman who spoke openly in court, telling Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood that he just made a bad decision.

Afaisen was sitting on the beach outside his Talofofo home when a 50-gallon barrel filled with cocaine washed up on the shore.

But instead of reporting the findings to authorities, Afaisen seized the opportunity and began peddling the drug to relatives and friends.

Afaisen said his intention was not to make money. From the drug sales, Afaisen said he only made about $1,000 in the three weeks before he was busted.

Afaisen said he just wanted to get back on his feet and he believed at the time that the cocaine was “some sort of gift from his deceased son.”

Facing a maximum of 10 years incarceration, Afaisen was sentenced to half that, 57 months.

Gorman said the sentence was handed down under the premise that Afaisen is not connected to any criminal syndicate.

“It’s still harsher than we would like, but it was an unusual case. Such a large amount of drugs but as I said, the world’s worst drug dealer. I mean he was sitting on his beach and all of a sudden a barrel full of drugs washes up. So certainly, he’s not a professional drug dealer at all, he just made the wrong decision and probably should have turned it in immediately. But he didn’t so now we try to ameliorate it and lessen the penalty as much as possible,” Gorman said.

To date, the public is aware of two other barrels of cocaine washing ashore on Guam but there may have been other barrels discovered which were not disclosed by authorities as US Attorney General Laura Sombataro, declined to specify.

It is known that Afaisen was found with over 12 kilograms of cocaine and the individuals he provided the drug to were found having about 40 grams.

But the cocaine trail ends there, as Afaisen’s cooperation could not reveal where the drugs came from or where they were headed to.

“He cooperated fully but he didn’t have anything to give, really, because he’s not a drug dealer. Just sitting there when a big barrel of coke washes up on the shore, its an unusual situation,” Gorman reiterated.

While Afaisen walked out of court this morning and remains on supervised release pending designation to a Bureau of Prisons, he leaves this short message for the community: “Say no to drugs it’s not worth it.”

Chief Judge Gatewood has indicated that she will be making a judicial recommendation for Afaisen to serve his prison sentence in Sheraton, Oregon. Following his incarceration he will be placed on four years supervised 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.