The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Thursday a firefighter who allegedly took videos of himself having sex with two underaged girls. Authorities also apprehended the woman who offered the girls to him in exchange for methamphetamine or “ice” and money.
Richard Sullivan Benavente, 43, a firefighter at the Department of Public Safety, was served with an arrest warrant for sexual exploitation of children. Annette Nakatsukasa Basa was arrested for sex trafficking of children.
Benavente and Basa were taken to the U.S. District Court for the NMI on Friday. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona unsealed the case and ordered the two’s continued detention.
A detention hearing will be held on Wednesday at 9am.
Court-appointed counsels Mark Hanson and Steven Pixley appeared for Benavente and Basa respectively. Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton represented the U.S. government.
If convicted, Benavente faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and up to a maximum of 30 years, according to U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the NMI Alicia A.G. Limtiaco in a statement.
Basa, on the other hand, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a maximum of life imprisonment, Limtiaco added.
“Protecting our children and community from those who engage in human trafficking and the exploitation of children is a top priority of the Department of Justice,” Limtiaco said. “This investigation shows the commitment of federal and local law enforcement to work together to investigate and prosecute child exploitation and to rescue and assist victims.”
FBI special agent Haejun Park stated in his affidavit that the investigation began on July 16, 2013, when DPS received an anonymous tip through the Crime Stoppers Program about the sexual abuse of a minor.
Park said the tipster also emailed a video file that depicted a man identified as Benavente having sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Further investigation showed that it was Basa who induced the girl and another 15-year-old girl to have sex with Benavente and other men in exchange for “ice” and/or cash, Park said.
He related that, in separate interviews with authorities, Benavente said that he has known Basa for 10 years and that he began having sex with girls she introduced to him five years ago.
The firefighter allegedly paid Basa with drugs or money in exchange for sex with the girls. Basa was referred to as the Chamorro “mamasang.”
In one of the incidents, Basa called and texted Benavente on June 23, 2013, offering him two young girls in exchange for drugs and money. She told him that the girls were 18 and 19 years old.
Benavente gave Basa “ice” and then took the girls to a “shack” on top of his apartment on Saipan where he had sex with the two. During the incident, Benavente used his cellular phone to record himself and both girls.
In early July 2013, Benavente allegedly had sex with both minors at a hotel on Saipan. Benavente brought a digital camera and a tripod to film himself having sex with the two girls. When the camera’s battery ran out of power, one of the girls’ cell phone was used to continue the recording.
Park said he viewed three separate video files recovered by the DPS. The first two show the girl and another minor girl engaging in oral sex with an adult male. The third file shows Benavente engaging in sexual conduct with one of the two girls.
Park said that DPS interviewed one of the two girls on July 18, while he interviewed the same minor on July 23.
In those interviews, Park said the girls stated that they were introduced to Basa in May 2013 by another girl. Shortly thereafter, the two girls moved in with Basa at her home in Afetnas.
In May 2013, Basa began directing the two girls to have sex with adult men. Basa would arrange the meetings using her phone or in person.
The men would give Basa money or “ice” in exchange for sex with the two girls. One girl named several men with whom she had sex at Basa’s direction.