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Back Local News Sardoma files motion to limit evidence

Sardoma files motion to limit evidence

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THE lawyer of alleged drug kingpin Mateo B. Sardoma has filed a motion to limit evidence in support of the conspiracy charges against Sardoma.

Sardoma’s counsel, Curtis Van de Veld, asked the court to sanction the U.S. Attorney for relitigating his client, Sardoma, and another co-defendant, Maria C. Edrosa.

According to Van de Veld, the money confiscated from the defendants had been the subject of a civil forfeiture case in 2012.

Van de Veld said that during the civil case, the U.S. attorney agreed to a civil compromise of the forfeiture claims made by the feds and to return all funds confiscated from Edrosa and part of the funds confiscated from Sardoma, on the basis that the government could not prove the funds were proceeds from illegal activity.

During the hearing, Edrosa asserted that she got her money from tax refunds and that Sardoma's funds were derived from winnings through cockfight gambling. The court thereafter entered a final judgment on the merits of the case and ordered the return of property to Sardoma and Edrosa.

Van de Veld said the civil forfeiture case already reached a final judgment on the merits of the confiscated money and therefore this must be precluded from the ongoing trial.

“The civil proceeding first occurred and the government made representations to the court that the illegality of the source of the funds could not be proved,” Van de Veld said in his motion.

Sardoma and Edrosa are now on trial with another defendant, Rudy P.H. Sablan. They are facing 26 counts of drug-related and firearms charges, including drug distribution, possession of a firearm, and continuing criminal enterprise.

The three were indicted on Feb. 15, 2012 along with Christopher A.D. Mesa, Walter Duenas, Sylvia Mashburn Duenas, Eduardo V. Lake, Anthony Aro Villanueva, Joseph N. Caballero, and Elizabeth F.L. Aguon.

Scheme

According to court documents, the defendants engaged in a continuing scheme to bring methamphetamine to Guam from the Philippines, California and elsewhere. Sardoma, who is said to be the kingpin behind the drug ring, allegedly started the criminal enterprise in 2008.

On many occasions, court documents stated the conspirators mailed packages of methamphetamine to Guam from the U.S. mainland. They also traveled to the Philippines to purchase meth and distributed the drugs throughout Guam. They are also charged with conspiracy to trade meth for firearms, jewelry and stolen items, as well as to launder cash money received by making cash investments in the construction and improvements of homes and by purchasing vehicles, household appliances, power tools, safes, flat screen TVs, and off-island travel to Manila, Hawaii and elsewhere.

If the cash was intercepted, defendants would claim that the money was derived from legal employment or from gambling and cockfight winnings, the grand jury indictment stated. The defendants allegedly used force, harassment and firearms to maintain control over their drug organization, even resorting to kidnappings and torture. The defendants are also said to have purchased and installed expensive surveillance equipment so that approaches to their homes by the police and others could be monitored from within.

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