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Back Local News Cop enters guilty plea in Blue House case

Cop enters guilty plea in Blue House case

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ONE of three Guam Police Department officers charged in the prostitution and kidnapping case surrounding the Blue House Lounge admitted yesterday to his involvement in the crime.

Officer Mario L. Laxamana pleaded guilty to one count of felonious restraint as a third-degree felony and official misconduct as a misdemeanor during a change of plea hearing before Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola.

All remaining charges will be dismissed, according to his plea agreement. Those charges include kidnapping, compelling and promoting prostitution, criminal intimidation, abetting prostitution, and criminal facilitation, among others.

As part of the plea agreement, Laxamana agreed to fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office and any other government entity as to the investigation of the case. He also agreed to testify when his co-defendants go to trial.

Sentencing

Although the charges of felonious restraint and official misconduct carry a maximum sentence of five and one year, respectively, Laxamana may not have to spend any time in jail, according to his plea agreement.

For the charge of felonious restraint, the plea agreement states Laxamana shall be sentenced to three years of imprisonment. As for the charge of official misconduct, Laxamana shall be sentenced to one year imprisonment. Both sentences are to run concurrently with each other; however, both terms have been suspended, with credit for time served.

“Laxamana’s sentence was suspended in exchange for his full cooperation during the trial which includes testifying against the other defendants,” explained AGO spokesperson Carlina Charfauros. “He will only have to serve time if he does not cooperate with prosecution. In addition, the charges against Laxamana in the plea agreement carry no mandatory minimum jail time.”

When asked if the AGO notified the victim pursuant to the Crime Victim’s Rights Act of 2004, Charfauros confirmed that Laxamana’s victim was informed throughout the process of finalizing the plea deal, to which she acknowledged and agreed to.

Bail exonerated

During the change of plea hearing yesterday, both Laxamana’s attorney Peter Perez and prosecuting attorney Nelson Werner agreed to lift Laxamana’s house arrest and exonerate his bail.

When asked about Laxamana’s employment status with GPD or whether he and the two other policemen involved in the Blue House Lounge case – David Manila and Anthony Quenga – were still receiving paychecks, GPD spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia said he could not comment until the trial is completed.

Manila and Quenga remain behind bars.

The three officers were arrested last November after an investigation in their department revealed their alleged ties to the Blue House Lounge which shut down in 2008. The policemen faced more than two dozen felony and misdemeanor charges alongside Blue House owner Song Ja Cha and two former lounge employees.

Cha is already serving a life sentence after having been convicted in federal court of several sex trafficking crimes. Cha lured young women from Chuuk and forced them into prostitution at her lounge in upper Tumon.

Testimonies by victims of Cha revealed in federal court that certain police officers frequented the lounge and that Cha would claim to use her connections with police and threaten to have the girls arrested if they escaped.

Although the federal case is closed, Cha and the policemen still face local charges.

Cha, Manila and Quenga are expected to return to court for a trial setting at 9 a.m. on March 18.

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