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    Sunday, October 20, 2019-5:31:25A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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$100K bail on cop in drug case

SUPERIOR Court Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio yesterday increased to $100,000 the bail for Department of Public Safety Patrol Officer Carl Robert Kohler Tudela, 38, who was arrested by local and federal agents for possession of a controlled substance and misconduct in public office on Friday.

Kim-Tenorio granted a request to increase Tudela’s bail as moved by Chief Prosecutor Leonardo M. Rapadas, who appeared on behalf of the CNMI government during Tudela’s initial court appearance yesterday morning. The original bail order was $25,000.

Two women in the courtroom were crying as the judge was presiding over Tudela’s initial court appearance.

Rapadas said Tudela is a flight risk and has violated the public’s trust.

Assistant Public Defender Michael Sato, who was appointed as Tudela’s counsel, reserved his client’s right to submit a motion.

Tudela told the court that he works part-time as a guest-relations officer at Dionysus Bar & Grill in Garapan. He was remanded to the custody of the Department of Corrections after the court session.

Rapadas asked the court to unseal the case, and this was granted by the judge.

On March 4, 2015, Judge Joseph Camacho granted an eavesdropping search warrant for Tudela. The Office of the Attorney General’s Investigative Division or AGID, the CNMI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, and the Department of Public Safety jointly conducted an investigation of Tudela’s drug activities including buying or smoking “ice” while on- or off-duty, according to AGID Investigator George Fleming David, the case agent.

On March 6, at 7 a.m., authorities met a cooperating source, or CS, who previously sold “ice” to Tudela and witnessed the police officer purchasing “ice” from another known “ice” dealer about two months ago.

The “controlled-reverse” anti-drug operation involving Tudela entailed the CS meeting with Tudela, talking about “ice” and determining if Tudela was willing to purchase “ice” from the CS, David told the court.

At 8:30 a.m., investigators established surveillance at the SH Apartments in San Antonio located north of San Antonio Elementary School.

The CS had previously accompanied another “ice” dealer who sold “ice” to Tudela in the apartment, where Tudela was living in one of the rooms on the second floor.

Authorities monitored the movement of the CS who was carrying a transmitter and recording device.

When he knocked on the door, the CS was met by a woman, later identified as Tudela’s girlfriend.

Afterward, Tudela appeared at the doorway and was asked by the CS if he was “interested” in buying “ice.” Tudela told the CS to wait because, the police officer said, he would get money from his girlfriend.

Tudela handed $17 to the CS who gave him a small plastic bag containing a substance that was purportedly “ice,” court records show.

On March 6, Judge Camacho granted a request for issuance of a warrant for Tudela’s arrest and a search warrant covering the police officer’s apartment-room.

Tudela, who was off-duty at that time, was arrested at 8:13 p.m. as local and federal authorities swooped down on his San Antonio apartment room and implemented the search warrant.

In a statement to the media, the Office of the Attorney General said it arrested Tudela with the participation of the CNMI/DEA Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshal Service.

Tudela’s arrest was executed without incident in San Antonio, the AG’s office said.

“The arrest was the culmination of weeks of investigation by the AG Investigative Division with assistance of the CNMI/DEA Drug Task Force. The officer is alleged to be involved in active narcotics use,” the statement said.

The public is reminded that the charges are allegations at this time and that all persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, the AG’s office said.

“The people of the commonwealth should rest assured that the majority of police officers serving them are good, hardworking public servants,” said Chief Prosecutor Leonardo M. Rapadas. “Our office will continue to work with those dedicated officers on this and other future cases.”

For his part, DPS Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero said he was aware of Tudela’s drug-related activities.

“It was a DPS detective that discovered [Tudela’s drug] activity as part of an investigation into a criminal incident. It has been brought to my attention,” said Deleon Guerrero, adding that it was suggested to bring Tudela’s drug-related activities to the AG’s Investigative Division, or AGID, for further investigation.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero answers questions  during a media conference on Monday afternoon as Police Sgt. Anthony Macaranas, left, officer-in-charge of the department’s traffic section, looks on.  Photo by Andrew O. De GuzmanDepartment of Public Safety Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero answers questions during a media conference on Monday afternoon as Police Sgt. Anthony Macaranas, left, officer-in-charge of the department’s traffic section, looks on. Photo by Andrew O. De Guzman

“That’s exactly what happened. We allowed the AGID to perform the investigation [instead of] DPS, given the fact that it does involve one of our employees,” Deleon Guerrero told reporters yesterday afternoon.

Tudela became a police cadet in Aug. 2008 and graduated from the 19th Police Cycle Academy in December of that same year. Since then, he has been a police officer assigned to the department’s patrol unit.

Deleon Guerrero declined to provide further details regarding Tudela’s arrest, adding that it is an active and ongoing case currently being investigated by another CNMI agency.

“But I would like to assure the public that, for the most part, the police officers with the Department of Public Safety are good police officers. They are not engaged in this type of activity. It’s unfortunate that when somebody gets involved especially in drug-related activities, it tarnishes the reputation of the Department of Public Safety. Clearly, the impact is felt by everyone in the police force. We have done a lot the past two years to release a lot of personnel who either were suspected to be or were engaged in some form of drug-related activity,” Deleon Guerrero said.

Deleon Guerrero said five DPS police officers have been released or terminated as a result of the department’s “internal” process, adding these were not announced because of personnel policy.

Deleon Guerrero said the department is conducting its own Internal Affairs investigation regarding Tudela’s activities.

“We will likely take adverse action against him so that he no longer poses a threat to the community or to other employees of the Department of Public Safety,” the commissioner said.