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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sen. Hocog’s cop son nabbed
Sources: One of 2 SUVs used in deals is leased to senator’s office

Police arrested on Monday Sen. Victor Hocog’s (R-Rota) police officer son for allegedly selling methamphetamine or “ice” on Saipan.

Police Officer 1 Victor Val B. Hocog, 39, was taken before Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio yesterday for a bail hearing on charges of trafficking of a controlled substance and illegal possession of a controlled substance.

Kim-Tenorio imposed a $100,000 cash bail for Hocog’s temporary release. She ordered him to surrender his Department of Public Safety-issued firearm and passport.

Citing the nature of the charges, the judge told Hocog it is “kind of shameful” since police officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the community.

Assistant public defender Matthew Meyer was appointed to represent Hocog.

Drug Enforcement Task Force detective Jeffrey I. Norita stated in his report that members of the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force staged a sting operation against Hocog last Saturday and Sunday.

Norita said that in the two transactions, Hocog handed over a total of $100 worth of “ice” to the Task Force’s cooperating source at a poker arcade in As Lito.

Norita disclosed that he and police detective Elias Q. Saralu talked with the cooperating source on Jan. 21 about a police officer who is allegedly active in selling “ice” on Saipan.

Norita said the police officer, who was known by the cooperating source as Val Hocog, was later identified as Police Officer Victor Val Hocog.

Norita said that in the first transaction on Saturday, Hocog used a brown SUV bearing a license plate AEG-871. On the second deal on Sunday, he was driving a blue SUV with license plate ACN-570.

Sources revealed that the brown SUV is leased to Sen. Hocog’s office.

Assistant attorney general Barbara Cepeda recommended the $100,000 cash bail due to the nature and circumstances of the case, that the suspect is a police officer, and that he has a prior conviction.

Cepeda said the firearm DPS issued to Hocog has yet to be found.

Cepeda said the two charges carry a total maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $12,000 in fine.

Hocog’s prior conviction stems from a 2009 incident when he beat up his former girlfriend inside the office of Sen. Paul Manglona at the legislative building on Capital Hill. He was charged with assault and battery, attempted kidnapping, kidnapping, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He later pleaded guilty to assault and battery as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to one year in prison, all suspended except for nine days, with credit for the nine days he had already served in jail. He was then placed on one year probation.

DPS then hired Hocog back as Police Officer 1 last August. He is assigned at the Patrol Section, Saipan Tribune learned.

In an interview with Saipan Tribune, DPS Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero said that Hocog’s arrest is part of the department’s overall strategy to clean house.

“We don’t allow drug dealers to penetrate our organization,” Deleon Guerrero said.

As for Hocog’s hiring, the commissioner said at the time there were two or three vacant positions at DPS and that four persons, including Hocog, applied.

Deleon Guerrero said that three applicants had prior convictions and the selection process committee selected Hocog and one who had a clean record.

Deleon Guerrero said that Hocog, who was convicted of assault and battery, came out as the “lesser evil” as the other applicant was convicted of theft.

The commissioner said this is one of the reasons why he has been pushing for mandatory drug testing for all law enforcers and to waive a police academy requirement in order to have a bigger pool of applicants.

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