Ex-convict arrested for alleged extortion try


Ex-convict Mario Olopai Sablan was arrested again on midnight Tuesday, this time for allegedly trying to extort $100 from a woman who lost her wallet at a poker arcade in Garapan.

Sablan, 38, was arrested for the offense of receiving stolen property.

At a hearing yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman increased Sablan’s $1,500 cash bail to $5,000 cash, citing his criminal history and the circumstances of his latest arrest.

“Welcome back to court,” the judge told Sablan.

Wiseman noted that he just sentenced the suspect for theft in February 2013.

The judge also noted that Sablan has had 16 traffic cases since 1993 all the way to the present time.

Wiseman told Sablan that he should start to learn how to drive.

The Public Defender’s Office was appointed as counsel for Sablan on an interim basis. Preliminary hearing will be on June 17 at 9am.

Wiseman also ordered revocation proceedings and set the arraignment in the revocation matter for June 24 at 1:30pm.

The Office of Adult Probation asked for the revocation of Sablan’s probation because of his arrest on Tuesday.

Police detective Edward M. Cepeda stated in his report that a police officer responded last Saturday at 4:11am to a theft incident at Best Poker in western Garapan and met with a woman who complained that her wallet was stolen inside the arcade.

The victim told police that her wallet contained an undetermined amount of money and several identification cards.

The officer reviewed the surveillance camera and identified the person who took her wallet. Another witness also corroborated the officer’s observation. Saipan Tribune opted not to disclose the person’s identity as it’s not clear yet whether he has already been arrested.

Cepeda said that on Monday at 11:52pm, two police officers responded to Best Poker after the wallet’s owner called for help.

The victim approached the officers and put her cell phone on speaker. The two officers heard a man on the other line demanding from the victim $50 for him and $50 for his friend if she wants to get her wallet back.

The man told the victim to meet them at 99 Cents Store in Garapan. The two police officers then requested for other police units to assist them.

The officers proceeded to the 99 Cents Store, where the victim waited in the parking lot. A few minutes later, the officers saw Sablan approaching the victim. When the victim got her wallet, police arrested Sablan.

The wallet contained the victim’s driver’s license, Social Security card, credit card from First Hawaiian Bank, and other identification cards.

In February 2013, Wiseman sentenced Sablan to 30 days for theft and placed him on probation for five years.

According to the plea agreement, on Sept. 28, 2012, Sablan and a co-defendant stole $876 cash from a poker machine at the U-Luck Poker in western Garapan.

In April 2012, Sablan, then an employee at the Division of Sports and Recreation, was arrested with John B. Reyes Jr. for allegedly burglarizing the Garapan Elementary School and carting off more than $6,000 worth of equipment and other instructional materials. The Office of the Attorney General subsequently dropped the case. (Ferdie de la Torre)

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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