The U.S. government filed Friday another criminal case against Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu (R-Rota) over an incident in January in which he was allegedly found in possession of a cell phone while detained at the Department of Corrections in Susupe.
The information charged the 48-year-old Ayuyu with one count of possessing a phone in a federal correctional or detention facility.
According to the charging document filed by assistant U.S. attorney Garth R. Backe, Ayuyu was “found to be in possession of a phone or other device used by a user of commercial service” on Jan. 15, 2013, while in prison.
Ayuyu is facing criminal charges in two other indictments over an alleged conspiracy to smuggle eight dead Mariana fruit bats from Rota to Saipan in October 2010, concealing the fruit bats inside a cardboard box beneath 40 lbs of lemons. A joint jury trial in the two cases will be on April 1, 2013.
Ayuyu has been in detention since Dec. 17, 2012.
Last Feb. 26, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied Ayuyu's third motion for a pre-trial release on a $20,000 cash bail and property.
Manglona ruled that the U.S. government has met the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence to continue detaining Ayuyu pending his trial.
Manglona cited the need to keep Ayuyu detained to ensure the safety of individuals who are possible witnesses in the case.
The judge stated that she has additional information about the cell phone that was found in Ayuyu's possession while being detained at DOC. This additional information, the judge noted, occurred after the court denied Ayuyu's request for pretrial release.
Manglona said the documents that the prosecution submitted and she reviewed consist of a memorandum prepared by two DOC officers regarding the incident when Ayuyu was caught in possession of a cell phone while in jail.
The incident, the judge pointed out, is a concern whether the defendant will obey court orders if granted pre-trial release.
After the Feb. 26 hearing, defense attorney Joaquin Torres told reporters that it is very difficult for him to go to DOC every day to talk with Ayuyu in preparing for the trial.
Torres said that Ayuyu was not aware that it was illegal to keep a cell phone at DOC.