U. S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramon M. Manglona has ordered the continued detention of acting CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife director Raymond Borja Roberto, who is facing charges of soliciting sex with three female minors.
Manglona determined Friday that Roberto is not a flight risk but is still a threat and danger to the community.
Manglona said the nature of the case, Roberto’s prior conviction, and the case being a matter that involves children, there is a concern of danger to the community.
On the issue of flight risk, the judge noted that Roberto has close ties in the community and that he voluntarily surrendered to police upon learning of the arrest warrant against him.
Roberto was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal. Preliminary hearing will be on Sept. 17 at 9am.
In his argument for Roberto’s continued detention, assistant U.S. attorney Rami Badawy cited the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s prior conviction on “ice” charges in federal court, and for allegedly evading arrest. Although the defendant surrendered to police, federal agents could not locate him at his house, work, and did not answer his cell phone, Badawy said.
In opposing the motion, attorney Joaquin Torres, counsel for Roberto, cited some alleged inconsistencies in the girls’ statements given to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Torres said one of the girls apparently told the FBI that her first encounter with Roberto was on March 12, 2013, when she ran away from home. The girl also allegedly stated that she and the other girls were picked up by Roberto on March 12, 2013.
Torres pointed out that on these particular dates, his client was not on Saipan as he was off island from March 7 to 15, 2013.
Torres also cited another alleged statement by one of the girls that Roberto paid her $150, but that in another statement mentioned only $100.
“That’s the kind of evidence what we’re looking at—the inconsistent statements,” he said.
On the issue of flight risk, Torres pointed out that Roberto surrendered himself to police after he learned that there was an arrest warrant for him.
Torres also noted that Roberto’s wife works at the college and he has an animal feeds business on Saipan.
FBI agents arrested the 40-year-old Roberto last Aug. 31 on charges of coercion and enticement. The case is related to the earlier arrest of firefighter Richard S. Benavente and suspected pimp Annette N. Basa.