Closing arguments presented in major drug trafficking trial - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Closing arguments presented in major drug trafficking trial

by Jolene Toves

Guam - For the last several months, a jury has sat through countless hours of testimony from dozens of witnesses in one of the island's largest drug trafficking cases. Jurors have received their instructions and now the government and defense are presenting closing arguments hoping to sway jurors before they begin deliberations.

Closing arguments got underway in the major drug trafficking ring case involving Mateo Sardoma Jr, Rudy Sablan and Maria Edrosa. The three are being held behind bars on local and federal criminal charges, accused of organizing a continuing criminal enterprise and conspiring to distribute hundreds of grams of crystal methamphetamine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Leon Guerrero addressed the jury painting a picture that Sardoma was the drug kingpin, Sablan was his enforcer and Edrosa was his first lieutenant. Recapping testimony by various witnesses on how power, greed, and violence led to the rise and fall of the three defendants, Leon Guerrero claimed that the trio not only used intimidation in various incidences but unlawfully possessed firearms and in one instance tortured an individual Sardoma believed had stolen Ice. He also described how the three conspired to bring in methamphetamine from California and the Philippines and then sold it on Guam to amass a fortune worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile Rudy Sablan's attorney, Louie Yanza, sought to sway the jury saying the government's case was full of holes and based on a faulty presentation, lies and corroborating witnesses who stand to gain a "get out of jail free card." Yanza stressed that the witnesses were consistently inconsistent in painting this "sexy story" and their testimony should not be taken at face value. He argued that the government failed to produce the burden of proof necessary discrediting the testimonies of Joseph Mallo, Jared Unchangco and Ana Toves.

Yanza further argued that his client had no part in the conspiracy to distribute meth, stating that Sablan was only a buyer and user not a distributer.

Closing arguments will continue tomorrow before Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood with jury deliberations expected to follow.

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