Yona mayor will remain under detention

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Mayor Jesse Blas was arrested on federal extortion and bribery allegations.

Yona Mayor Jesse Blas will remain behind bars at least for now as District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has ordered a new detention hearing to address his pre-trial detention.

In her order, the judge points out that there was no written order by Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan when Blas was remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals.

The mayor’s attorney, Joseph Razzano, has argued that a failure by the magistrate judge to issue a written detention order “alone can result in reversal and an order for release,” adding that the mayor’s 8th Amendment rights and the Bail Reform Act are being violated with the mayor’s continued detention.

“While the court was able to glean from the transcript the findings of fact and the reasons for the detention, it appears from the unredacted transcript that the U.S. Magistrate Judge failed to consider whether there was no condition or combination of conditions [that] will reasonably assure . . . the safety of any other person and the community,” the Chief Judge said.

To ensure fairness, Tydingco-Gatewood has set a new detention hearing for October 29, 2019.

Blas has been behind bars for 30 days. He was arrested on September 25, 2019, on drug-related extortion charges.

The Yona mayor was indicted on multiple counts related to three different alleged violations of law.

He stands accused of using his official capacity as Yona mayor for his personal gain by selling cluster boxes to an FBI informant who posed as a drug trafficker. The Yona cluster boxes owned by the U.S. Postal Service are overseen by the Yona mayor who is designated to provide the mailboxes to Yona residents at no charge.

Blas remains the mayor of Yona and has been placed on annual leave. Mayors Council of Guam Executive Director Angel Sablan said once that annual leave expires, he will be placed on leave without pay.

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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.