Tag Archives: people

GPD Officer in Blue House case receives 30 years in prison

Anthony Quenga

Former police officer Anthony Quenga wipes tears from his eyes after listening to testimony from his sister during his sentencing hearing in court on April 18. Superior Court of Guam Judge Anita Sukola handed down a sentence of 30 years to Quenga in the Blue House brothel case.

Anthony Quenga, the second former Guam police officer convicted in the Blue House case, was sentenced this morning to 30 years in prison for rape, kidnapping and promoting prostitution.

During the hearing, friends and family of Quenga testified on the former officer’s behalf asking Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola to consider the former officer’s history as a police officer and relationship with his family.

Former Guam Police Chief Paul Suba also testified on Quenga’s behalf, calling the man “exemplary on almost all occasions.”

Quenga, when given an opportunity to speak, maintained his innocence, saying the 519 days he’s been in jail have “felt like I’ve been in a bad dream.”

“Your honor,” he told the judge, “I know I was convicted. I still stand my ground that I am innocent.”

Quenga closed his statement, telling the court that “they’ve got the wrong Tony.”

Quenga received the maximum sentence for nearly all of the crimes of which he had been convicted, receiving sentences ranging from one to 30 years.

His longest sentence was for a conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct, for which Quenga received 30 years.

He will be able to serve all his sentences concurrently.

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3 military personnels attacked on Guam

Three active duty military personnel were brought to Naval Hospital Guam Saturday night after a group of men attacked them in Tumon, according to Guam police.

It was the second time in a week service members reportedly have been attacked in Tumon.

The Guam Police Department is asking the public to come forward if they have any information about the incident.

GPD spokesman Officer A.J. Balajadia said the service members were attacked by a group of about 10 men, described by police as local.

The attack occurred around 9 p.m. Saturday night near the Slingshot in Tumon, Balajadia said in a press release. Police will review security camera footage to determine what took place.

On Nov. 16, six sailors were sent to Naval Hospital Guam after a large group attacked them with bats, clubs and pipes near Acanta Mall in Tumon, according to a press release from Joint Region Marianas.

“(Police Chief Fred Bordallo) is taking these types of incidents against our military personnel seriously and will work with our military counterparts in charging any individual involved in these assaults,” Balajadia said in his release.

Witness Identifies GPD Officers in Blue House Guam

A third Blue House worker spoke to the jury yesterday, identifying Officers Anthony Quenga and David Manila as two of three Guam police officers who visited the brothel before it was shut down in 2008.

The woman, identified as K.C., is the prosecution’s sixth witness to testify in the ongoing case against Manila and Quenga, who are accused of helping Blue House owner Song Ja Cha force women into prostitution at the Blue House lounge.

K.C. told the court through a translator that three police officers visited the lounge while she worked there as one of the lounge’s prostitutes.

She said all three officers went into the lounge’s VIP rooms at some point, though she never saw them drink.

Another worker testified Wednesday that she did see the officers drink while in uniform.

K.C. said she only knew the names of two officers: “Tony” and “Mario.” She identified Quenga as “Tony” yesterday in court, but said Mario wasn’t present.

She said she didn’t know the name of the third officer, but was able to identify him as Manila.

K.C. said she never spoke to any of the officers and none of the officers spoke to her.

Prosecutors have argued in the past that the officers personally threatened to have the women arrested if they ever tried to escape Blue House.

K.C. also testified that she was never paid for working at the Blue House, except for the occasional $20 to go shopping.

Sylvia Stake, who represents Quenga, confronted the woman about that statement, noting evidence that K.C.’s name is on a Western Union receipt, which she argues it suggests that the woman sent money to her family in Chuuk.

Terry Timblin, who represents Manila, noted that K.C. had received money following the federal trial that convicted Cha.

At the time, K.C. said she wasn’t sure how much money she received, but said later that it totaled about $37,000, all of which she gave to her mother.

Timblin asked her if she believed she would be paid following this trial.

“I dunno,” said K.C.

Allegations of abuse

K.C. also testified about alleged abuses at the Blue House, saying she was both beaten and dragged over broken glass by Cha and a supervisor after K.C. walked into a VIP room with the supervisor and a customer inside.

She also said she was forced to have an abortion after she got pregnant at the lounge.

“Did you want to have that baby?” asked Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan.

“Yes,” said K.C.

Manila and Quenga are charged with several crimes such as kidnapping and prostitution-related crimes. They also are charged with sex crimes.

The trial continues today. Another Blue House worker is expected to testify. After her, the prosecution plans to call Freda Eseun, a brothel supervisor, to the stand.

Jury selection for Manila’s, Quenga’s case set for today

Guam Police Department

Guam Police Department

The process of selecting a jury in a prostitution case allegedly involving two Guam police officers is expected to begin today — years after the brothel that fronted as a karaoke lounge was shut down.

Jury selection and trial in the Blue House case for officers David Manila and Anthony Quenga is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. in Superior Court of Guam Judge Anita Sukola’s courtroom, according to the Judiciary of Guam calendar.

This afternoon, defense counsel and prosecutors will question potential jurors before selecting the final 12 for the trial. Alternates also will be selected.

The officers face various charges, including kidnapping and compelling and promoting prostitution. The Blue House lounge operated from 2004 to 2008, when it was shut down.

Opening statements for the trial will begin after the jury is seated in the coming days. The case is expected to take anywhere from four to six weeks, attorneys have said.

That’s assuming that no other delays will occur in the trial. Manila and Quenga also have other hearings, including a 9 a.m. pre-trial conference, and motion hearings for later this morning.

Joshua Tenorio, the Judiciary’s director of Policy, Planning and Community Relations, said there’s a possibility that issues brought up at the conferences or hearings could delay the jury selection, though he couldn’t say what motions would be discussed today.

Tenorio did note that Sukola wants the trial to start quickly, as at least one other high-profile trial is expected to start soon.

Prosecutors’ case

According to documents filed in the Superior Court of Guam, prosecutors aim to show that the Blue House lounge and the adjacent Cha Cha Club were opened by brothel owner Song Ja Cha and her husband sometime in 2003 or 2004. Certain police officers, whom Cha referred to as “friends,” frequented the club beginning in 2005.

Those friends allegedly were used to intimidate the girls and women brought from Chuuk to keep them in line if they tried to get out of performing their duties, which included enticing customers to order drinks and to go back to the VIP rooms and performing sexual acts.

Girls and women recruited in Chuuk with the promise of well-paying jobs came to Guam only to have their passports taken, be forced to work in the brothel and be locked up every night, documents state.

“The front entrance door and the rear exit were padlocked from the outside,” documents state. “The windows, if any, were covered with bars.”

On occasions when they were allowed outside of Blue House, they weren’t allowed to talk to other Chuukese living on Guam and were kept under the watchful eye of supervisors, documents state.

A series of stories in the Pacific Daily News about alleged police involvement in the brothel prompted a special investigation which resulted in the indictment of the officers.

Charges

Blue House lounge owner Song Ja Cha, who is now being charged separately from the two officers, also is expected in court today for a criminal trial setting.

The defendants are charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, felonious restraint, official misconduct, and compelling and promoting prostitution, according to court documents.

Quenga also is jointly charged with Cha of first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Delays in trial

The trial has seen a series of delays. Two were due to appeals filed in the Supreme Court of Guam by Cha, who argued she was being tried twice for the same crime, and by Manila, who wanted justices to allow him to be released until trial.

Cha was convicted in federal court of sex trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

There was another delay when attorneys representing Cha told the court they want to withdraw from the case.

Cha’s case was then severed out of concern for the speedy-trial rights of the two officers.

The trial against Quenga and Manila was then scheduled to start last month, but they waived their right to a speedy trial.

Separate cases

After her case was severed from Manila and Quenga‘s, Cha waived her right to a speedy trial.

Cha would lure Micronesian woman, mostly from Chuuk, with promises of high-paying waitress jobs, according to Guam Night.

The brothel was shut down in 2008 during a police raid, and Cha and two supervisors were arrested.

The supervisors have entered plea agreements.

In addition to Quenga and Manila, a third police officer was indicted in the case. Officer Mario Laxamana pleaded guilty to his involvement in the case and agreed to assist prosecutors in the upcoming trial on Guam.

There currently are 82 witnesses for all parties in the case who could testify before the court. Sukola has noted many of the witnesses are duplicated in prosecution and defense lists.

Judge denies officers’ bail change request in Blue House case

Judge Anita Sukola has denied bail modification requests for all officers accused of crimes connected to the Blue House brothel.

Citing a concern for the safety of the communities and alleged victims of the brothel, Sukola denied requests that the officers be released on a personal bond or recognizance.

Bail amounts for Officers David Manila, Mario Laxamana and Anthony Quenga are $250,000, $100,000 and $250,000, respectively.

Attorney Peter Perez, who represents Mario Laxamana, noted in court that his client intends to post bail. It is uncertain if the other officers plan to do the same.

Blue House Karaoke Lounge was located in Upper Tumon, Guam.

Latest meth case may be Guam’s biggest

An ongoing investigation into a suspected Santa Rita drug ring may be the largest methamphetamine case on Guam in recent years.

After federal authorities arrested Julian Robles, the suspect allegedly confessed to smuggling between 50 and 100 pounds of methamphetamine, or “ice,” to Guam over the last two years, according to District Court of Guam documents. Authorities also intercepted 234 mail parcels — each allegedly containing 16 to 20 grams of ice — in this case, court documents state.

Pacific Daily News files state the drug can be worth between $400 and $1,000 per gram, which means 100 pounds of ice could be worth anywhere between $18 million to $45 million on the streets.

Neither Robles nor two other suspects named in court documents have been indicted in federal court. Although the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted this investigation, no one from that agency was available for comment yesterday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Scope of crime

In March, federal prosecutors indicted suspected drug kingpin Mateo Sardoma and nine other suspects.

During a press conference, U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco said the Sardoma case was one of the largest organized crime and narcotic trafficking cases on Guam in recent years.

Courtroom allegations have tied Sardoma to as much as 4 pounds of smuggled ice, according to Pacific Daily News files. That means — if Robles’ alleged confession is correct — his case could involve 25 times more drugs than the Sardoma case.

Pacific Daily News files don’t show any record of another drug case with the same scope as the Robles investigation over the last 15 years. There have been several other large drug busts in recent years, but none of them involve more than 10 pounds of ice, according to court documents.

Latest meth case may be Guam’s biggest

Why Guam shouldn’t celebrate Fourth of July

The July 4th celebrations at beach parties, picnics, fireworks and the waving of American flags on this land of islanders who have been denied the basic human right of self-determination and decolonization remind us about the deep disparities between the principles and the practices of American democracy in the Chamorro archipelago of the Mariana Islands.

For Guam, much of this is in fact caused by U.S. military presence and strategies of the 21st century.

In 1776, the unanimous declaration of the 13 United States of America severely criticized the King of Gr. Britain for having:

“Kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

“For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”

It was clear that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were in fact, decidedly anti-military in their castigation of America’s then-ruler.

Today, however, the United States’ spread of over 900 military bases outside of the continental U.S. exists separate from civilian life, with its own set of laws and technology that abridge basic human rights and civil liberties in colonial territories and distant countries.

The United States’ own foundational document, with its anti-colonial and anti-military values, deserves an honest review in our classrooms and should be at the forefront of our thoughts today and every day until the day we are allowed to exercise our basic human rights in our own land.

Hope A. Cristobal is a former senator and resident of Tamuning.

Why Guam shouldn’t celebrate Fourth of July