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    Monday, December 9, 2019-2:33:48P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Grand jury indicts Sen. Ayuyu

A GRAND jury has indicted Sen. Juan Manglona Ayuyu, and a former Rota municipal council staffer on charges of conspiring to violate, and violation of the Endangered Species and Lacey Acts.

Ayuyu’s co-defendant, Ryan James Inos Manglona, has been separately indicted on three counts of false declaration before the grand jury, and one count of obstruction of justice.

Ayuyu, who has retained attorney Steven Pixley, and Manglona, who was represented by court-appointed defense attorney Robert T. Torres, denied the charges.

Ayuyu and Manglona will be tried starting on Jan. 7, 2013.

Variety tried but failed to get a comment from Ayuyu.

Manglona’s other federal case will be tried on Dec. 31, 2012.

US District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, who unsealed the case yesterday, allowed the defendants o be released on $20,000 unsecured bonds under pretrial release conditions.

Ryan Manglona was also required to post a $20,000 unsecured bond for his other federal case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe, the prosecutor, submitted the indictments separately on Sept. 24, 2012 and Oct. 19, 2012.

Ryan Manglona was the first to be indicted. A subsequent indictment involved Manglona and Ayuyu.

Designated Federal Judge David A. Wiseman ordered the arrest of Ryan Manglona while Ayuyu was served with a penal summons at his office at the legislative building on Capital Hill two weeks ago.

The U.S. Marshals Service and the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife arrested Ryan Manglona on Rota on Oct. 25, 2012.

According to the redacted indictment, the conspiracy occurred on Oct. 17, 2010.

The indictment stated that Ayuyu and Ryan Manglona met at Ayuyu’s residence on Rota, where Manglona used packing tape to seal a brown cardboard box containing eight dead Mariana fruit bats concealed beneath approximately 40 pounds of lemons.

At around 4:17 p.m., the indictment added, Ayuyu, using his mobile phone, called the Freedom Air office, and told a staffer that Manglona would be dropping off baggage for the senator.

Manglona, together with another individual known by the grand jury, drove to the Rota airport, and delivered the box containing eight dead Mariana fruit bats to a Freedom Air employee at the check-in counter, the indictment stated.

At 5 p. m., it added, Ayuyu checked into Freedom Air Flight 300 bound for Saipan.

According to the separate redacted indictment involving Ryan Manglona, on Oct. 17, 2010, eight federally protected fruit bats were discovered by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration inside a cardboard box that was checked into a Freedom Air flight, while the box was being screened at the Rota airport.

An investigation showed that Manglona had dropped off the box along with an additional box “to a certain, identifiable employee at Freedom Air at the behest of a person believed to be [Manglona’s] employer and who had been a passenger on the Saipan-bound flight.

The redacted indictment referred to that person as “suspect 1” whose true identity is known by the grand jury.

Variety was told Manglona worked for Ayuyu at the time, and was the one who picked up the two boxes from the senator’s residence.

The redacted indictment said toll records showed that Manglona received at least three calls from “suspect 1” on his cell phone shortly after the box was opened by TSA.

On Oct. 27, 2010, Manglona voluntarily submitted to an interview by local investigators from the CNMI Department of Land and Natural Resources.

During the interview, Manglona “denied knowing what had been inside the box, but admitted, among other things, that suspect 1 had called him that day and asked him to pick up a box from suspect 1’s house,” the redacted indictment stated.

When he went to suspect 1’s house, Manglona said suspect 1 told him that the box was outside on a table. There were other people present at suspect 1’s residence when the box was picked up by Manglona.

Afterward, Manglona brought the two boxes to the Freedom Air counter at the Rota airport where he met one of its employees. Their conversation was video recorded by the airport camera.

Less than a month after his interview, Manglona was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury.

“It was material to the grand jury to ascertain the identity of any and all persons with knowledge of the box’s illegal contents; test…Manglona’s credibility as a witness; and develop leads for further investigation,” the redacted indictment stated.

On Nov. 23, 2010, it added, Manglona testified in a proceeding before a grand jury, and “knowingly made a false declaration.”