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Search warrant executed by feds

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - As federal authorities continue to investigate one of the largest drug-trafficking rings in recent history, more details of the drug conspiracy are being uncovered. Federal authorities found guns, ammunition, marijuana and drug paraphernalia during a recent search warrant that was executed at the home of Mateo Sardoma, Jr., who faces multiple federal charges for his alleged involvement in what authorities are calling a drug gang.  

According to the search and seizure warrant, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, authorities wanted to search the front extension of Sardoma's home on Conchita Lane in Dededo, which was recently constructed. The warrant was executed last week Wednesday, the same day a federal indictment was handed down against Sardoma and nine others who were believed to be part of a major drug-trafficking conspiracy.  More than 40 items were seized including numerous cell phones and SIM cards, two shotguns, a rifle, ammunition, laptops, surveillance cameras and motion detectors and various items that had been modified to conceal things. 

Sardoma faces numerous federal charges with his alleged co-conspirators - Rudy Sablan, Maria "Christina" Edrosa, Christopher "Bobat" Mesa, Walter Duenas, Sylvia Mashburn Duenas, Eduardo "Yob" Lake, Anthony "Brando" "Nunoy" Villanueva, Joseph "Beng" Caballero and Elizabeth F.L. Aguon.

Sardoma is charged with continuing criminal enterprise and is accused of being the organizer, supervisor and in a position of management to continue the drug-trafficking scheme, obtaining substantial income and resources in the process.  All of the defendants are accused of conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of the drug Ice.

Sardoma, Sablan and Mesa are also accused of kidnapping and torturing a handyman who was hired to renovate Sardoma's Dededo home and was accused of stealing one pound of crystal methamphetamine. Many of the defendants are being held behind bars awaiting further court hearings.

The U.S. Attorney's Office meanwhile has asked that certain information pertaining to the case be kept under seal, meaning withheld from the public. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Black wrote in a request to the court that 60 firearms were seized from members of the drug gang and they believe that Sardoma was the organizer of the group of narcotic dealers that sold significant amounts of methamphetamine on Guam. Black informed the court that certain information would need to be sealed because "of the potential danger the witnesses and informants face if their cooperation is made known to the defendants", adding disclosure of any of these witnesses or informants' cooperation against Sardoma will put their safety and well-being in jeopardy.

The government has asked that it not have to disclose the names of cooperating witnesses until a few weeks before the trial, which is scheduled for April 19.

Authorities meanwhile have said the case remains under investigation and there could be additional arrests and criminal charges. Sardoma is scheduled to appear in the District Court next Wednesday, as he seeks release from jail.

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