Vice speaker dismayed with former staffer's arrest
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz is back on Guam and talks about the recent arrest of his former staffer and the reason he terminated him.
"I was more than disappointed, I was dismayed, says Cruz, noting that he was shocked last week to learn that his research analyst, Christopher Carillo, had been arrested on drug possession charges. Cruz was on personal leave last week and returned to read the magistrate's complaint filed against Carillo, who is being held on $200,000 cash bail.
Carillo was arrested by Customs agents last week after a mail package addressed to his roommate's brother had been intercepted by postal inspectors and found to contain 522 grams of marijuana. According to court documents, Carillo opened the package which contained a tracking device. Carillo allegedly admitted to purchasing and smoking marijuana regularly and agents found what they deemed a "substantial" amount of marijuana in his vehicle.
"Yes I just, suffice it say, I was shocked," he stated.
Carillo was terminated last week as the Democrat lawmaker says they both agreed it was in the best interest of the office that he leave. "I just want to say that I am dismayed - he has been terminated because of the fact that I have oversight over a lot of sensitive departments. But I also believe that everyone deserves a fair trial and that one is innocent until proven guilty," Cruz said. "I'm hoping that he gets excellent counsel and is able to get a fair trial and I'm confident that my colleagues in the Judiciary will see to it that justice is done."
Cruz says Carillo was a valuable addition to his office and he will miss his drive and intelligence. While the senator has oversight over public safety agencies, Cruz says Carillo was never in meetings where sensitive matters were discussed noting that many of the discussions dealt with his bill to strengthen the penalties for manufacturing, possessing, selling or distributing Spice, which is described as a synthetic form of marijuana.
"I have considerable experience in how much staff need to know and should or should not be involved in meetings," he said. "That was the cause for the dismay." When asked if it's because he is so adamant and opposed to Spice and other illegal substances," the vice speaker replied, "correct".
Carillo is a roommate of Cruz's other staffer and Democratic Party of Guam executive director Carlo Branch, who arrived home to find the Customs officers already there. The vice speaker says he has purposely decided not to ask too many questions. "It's enough that a staffer is involved," he stated, "I don't need to be called as a witness by learning too much information."
The vice speaker adds there are some surplus ballot boxes at his office that were used during the Youth Congress elections. Cruz says Carillo used his personal car to deliver those boxes all around the island. A ballot box was found at Branch's home, but was deemed surplus by the Guam Election Commission for use for other elections around the island.