Star witness in drug distribution case can't be located - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Star witness in drug distribution case can't be located

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Criminal charges against an alleged drug distributor were thrown out because the government says its star witness is MIA. 

Just as his case was set to go to trial, criminal charges against Kenrick Gajo were thrown out last week.  He had been charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute.  As we reported back in April of 2010, police conducted several controlled buys and obtained a search warrant as they had evidence that Gajo was selling the drug ice from his auto body shop.

According to news files, when confronted by police, Gajo agreed to cooperate with authorities and provide information on drug trafficking and source suppliers on the island as well as information he claimed to have about a decade old murder. Authorities seized more than $170,000 in cash that Gajo admitted were the proceeds of his drug activity. The money had been stashed in tires stacked at the shop. Gajo agreed to cooperate in exchange for not spending any time behind bars.

That deal however never materialized and instead criminal charges were filed against him. While the case was set to go to trial this month, the government last Friday moved to have the case thrown out.

Spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office Carlina Charfauros tells KUAM News the case was thrown out because "unfortunately, we could not locate the key witness despite the collective efforts of both the GPD case agent and our own investigators."  Charfauros adds she believes that Superior Court Marshals are also looking for the same individual but on an unrelated matter.  The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means that they can recharge the case at a later time if they choose.  Charfauros explains that the statute of limitations was stopped during the pendency of the case so the government has plenty of time to recharge Gajo if the witness can be located.

The feds already seized the other $137,000 that was taken at the time of the search warrant.  They also fought to get the $30,000 that Gajo had paid in cash to his previous Attorney Curtis Van De Veld to represent him.

It's unclear whether the forfeiture claim will be impacted by the recent dismissal.

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