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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Man allegedly lied about Rota fruit bat poaching

A man was indicted in federal court for allegedly lying to a local law enforcement officer about hunters poaching on a breeding colony of threatened Mariana fruit bats in 2008 on Rota.

The indictment charged Janry A. Santos with one count of false statement to a government agency.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy on Monday ordered the U.S. Marshal to release Santos after processing.

According to the indictment, Santos was questioned on March 7, 2013, and Nov. 19, 2013, by a local law enforcement officer who was acting on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Justice

Santos allegedly lied about not being present with other hunters at or near the Sumac fruit bat colony roost site on Nov. 1, 2008, on Rota.

The Nov. 1, 2008, poaching incident led to the indictment of retired police lieutenant Adrian Mendiola, former Rota customs officer Albert A. Taitano, and former Division of Fish and Wildlife staff David A. Santos.

In 2011, Mendiola was found guilty of unlawful possession of a threatened wildlife, but not guilty of unlawful receipt or acquisition of threatened wildlife. He was slapped with a 90-day prison term.

Last month, Taitano and David Santos pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to unlawfully take and transport a threatened species—a misdemeanor offense. Their sentencing will be in March 2014.

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