Trial for ‘drug kingpin’ delayed

U.S. District Court (PNC News file photo)

New developments in one of the largest drug distribution cases before the District Court of Guam has delayed the advancement of trial for the defendant dubbed the “kingpin.”

Francisco Arias’ co-defendant Eder Cortez-Zelaya’s win in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing and remanding the case back to the federal court for a new trial, has set back Arias’ case by about 30 days.

The 9th Circuit reversed Cortez-Zelaya’s conviction on the conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and racketeering charges and acquitted him of the money laundering charges.

This judgment in the drug case means that Arias’ case has been pushed back by 30 days pending the 9th Circuit’s order.

In addition to this, the government is also waiting for the translation of text messages from the Las Vegas DEA which will serve as evidence in the case.

In light of these delays, District Court Judge Michael Bordallo stated that the ends of justice served outweigh the interests of the public and defendant in a speedy trial.

The next hearing has been set for September 2nd.


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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.