Former Guam mayor sentenced to 3 years in extortion case

HAGATNA, Guam — A former Guam mayor has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for extorting money from an informant who posed as a drug trafficker.

Former Yona Mayor Jesse Mendiola Blas was sentenced Thursday to 37 months in prison, with credit for 15 months already served, the Pacific Daily News reported.

Blas, 58, was indicted on six counts of extortion and seven counts of Travel Act bribery. He pleaded guilty to one count of extortion as part of a plea agreement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Sambataro said Blas, a former police officer and court marshal, received $11,700 from the informant.

The amount is above the $6,500 threshold that triggers more severe punishment under sentencing guidelines.

Authorities began the investigation after an ex-girlfriend told federal agents Blas allowed drug dealers to use mailboxes near his office that were under his control.

Authorities recruited Brenda Kinian to pose as a drug trafficker and ask Blas for a mailbox. Kinian told Blas she received packages of methamphetamine from the continental U.S.

Kinian testified she gave Blas thousands of dollars for the mailbox, which was purportedly a share of drug sale proceeds.

During secretly recorded video and phone calls, Blas and Kinian arranged meetings and Kinian delivered cash. Blas was heard asking in one recording if Kinian’s bosses wanted another mailbox for $15,000.

In a recorded call, Blas demanded $8,000 to maintain the mailbox after Kinian failed to deliver payment.

Blas was arrested in September 2019.

“The crime presented itself to me by way of temptation and took control over me,” Blas said during his sentencing hearing. “In truth, I just wanted some money. The need for money is no justification for my actions.”

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