Law and No Order in the CNMI

July 8, 2010

Ogumoro's Reinstatement

In the U.S. background checks are required for government jobs, but it seems that in the CNMI anyone can get a job regardless of any criminal record as long as he or she is connected to the governor or is a friend or relative of some official who can pull strings.

Ambrosio Ogumoro who was fired by the DPS Commissioner Santiago F. Tudela earlier this year and then reinstated by Governor Fitial earlier this month.  Why would a governor reverse a decision made by the DPS Commissioner? It was reported today that Commissioner Tudela, Fitial and Ogumoro discussed concerns and issues about the reinstatement of the controversial deputy commissioner.

It was reported that Kay Inos, daughter of Lt. Governor Eloy Inos, resigned from her position at the DPS Fiscal Affairs Section when Ogumoro returned to DPS Wednesday.

The reasons for firing Ogumoro were compelling.  They were outlined in a Saipan Tribune article, which described the hot-tempered Ogumoro as lambasting the DEA in an unauthorized news briefing following the drug arrests of three Tinian residents including one police officer. Further reports said that Ogumoro tried to micromanage personnel at DPS and yelled at officers.

From the Tribune:

Sources said Tudela does not like the way Ogumoro ran the department such as reassigning people without informing him and allegedly shouting at officers, among other things.

Ogumoro had a run-in with the DEA last Wednesday after DEA agents took custody of a Tinian police officer and two other men who were arrested by a joint DEA-Tinian police after a meth buy-bust operation.

Ogumoro, who appeared upset, was seen talking to DEA's Marquez for a few minutes outside the main entrance of Horiguchi Building in Garapan.

After his conversation with Marquez, Ogumoro told Saipan Tribune he does not need the DEA. “Mr. Marquez thinks he can come in and push people around,” he said.

He also accused a Tinian officer, who later came out of the Horiguchi Building, of betraying DPS and violating Gov. Fitial's order by leaking information to the DEA. Ogumoro threatened the officer with sanction.

“That officer is subject to reassignment. He betrayed DPS. He will be identified. I know the name,” he said.

He also branded Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz and Tinian DPS resident director Rey Pangelinan as incompetents.

At his afternoon press conference, Ogumoro identified the arrested persons as Tinian police officer Gilbert Macaranas, Henry San Nicolas, and Carlos Aldan. He also reiterated his dislike for Marquez and the DEA, accusing the federal agency of using DPS and taking credit for each successful operation.
Ogumoro has a serious criminal record that was apparently expunged.  In February 2006 Ambrosio Ogumoro was arrested for beating his wife and illegal possession of guns and ammunition. At the time of his arrest Ambrosio Ogumoro was the the weapons specialist for the DPS and was assigned as its "official armorer."  He was in charge of the Armory Unit and the Firearms and Criminal Records Section.

The Saipan Tribune article also said, "Police stated in court papers that Ambrosio Ogumoro had also threatened he would kill Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and blow up DPS." Hmmm, this guy seem radical! In the states we call such remarks threats of terrorist acts.

Another Saipan Tribune article stated that Ambrosio and his brother, then acting DPS police director Capt. Aniceto Ogumoro, lived next to each other on Capital Hill. Suspected of smuggling arms, they had their residences, bunker (who has a bunker?!), and a shipping container searched. The story sounds like a episode of Law and No Order (read the complete article here) with guns, a police officer girlfriend on another island, and crazy threats.

In March 2006 Judge Ken Govendo suppressed all evidence in the case (guns and ammunition) claiming that the search warrant was not properly executed.

In September 2006, Ambrosio Ogumoro pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to unlawful possession of ammunition. What about "beating his wife?" Apparently that charge was dismissed. The Saipan Tribune reported:
Ogumoro, 48, signed a plea agreement with the government and pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of ammunition. Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja accepted the agreement and the defendant's plea.

Following the agreement, Naraja sentenced Ogumoro to one year in prison, all suspended. He placed the former range master on two years of supervised probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and $225 in court and probation fees.

During the probationary period, Ogumoro will be required to perform 150 hours of community work service and attend anger management counseling.

Under the agreement, Ogumoro's criminal record will be expunged if he fully complies with the terms and conditions of the sentence after the end of the probationary period.

Before announcing the sentence, the judge asked the defendant if he wants to speak. Ogumoro briefly consulted one of his counsels, Edward Arriola, who was seated to his left, then told the court: “No, your honor.”

...For entering a guilty plea to one count of unlawful possession of ammunition, the court dismissed the remaining charges, as the government had recommended in the agreement.

Chief Prosecutor Jeffery Warfield Sr. stated in the information that in October 2005 the defendant slapped his wife and pulled her hair.
Does the public deserve to have dangerous criminals punished? The bail started out at $5 million because he was considered such a threat.  In the end he received less than a slap on the wrist and the plea agreement and sentence was certainly a slap in the face for the victim, his wife.

How is the criminal rewarded? Why, of course with a job at the place he threatened to blow up! In October 2008 Ambrosio was reinstated as range master for DPS with Judge Govendo swearing him in.

Other Controversies

This was not the only controversy involving Ambrosio Ogumoro.  Ambrosio and his brother, Aniceto Ogumoro, were charged by the federal government for an oil spill involving their Gung Ho, Inc and their vessel that sank in Tanapag Harbor in 2004.

From The Saipan Tribune:

In a default judgment, the U.S. District Court for the NMI ruled that the Ogumoro brothers and Gung Ho Inc. are indebted to the U.S. government for $3,413,514.37.
The court said the amount is based upon expenses by the United States, by and through the U.S. Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center, which it incurred in removing the oil spilled by the defendants' vessel, F/V Mwaali Saat, when it sank within the Tanapag Harbor in June 2004.

The Coast Guard also incurred costs to mitigate the substantial threat of further oil spills from the vessel, said the court in its order issued Tuesday.

The court said the judgment will bear interest from the date of the order until the amount is fully paid.

The court issued the default judgment after the Ogumoros and Gung Ho Inc. failed to answer the U.S. government's lawsuit despite being served with summons.

The U.S. government filed the lawsuit in May 2005. The U.S. government, through the U.S. Department of Justice, asked the court to hold the Ogumoro brothers and Gung Ho Inc. liable for violating the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

The U.S. demanded payment for pollution removal costs or damages, plus interest, costs, disbursements, and attorneys' fees.
In March 2009, the federal government filed another lawsuit against Ogumoro for alleged fraudulent transfer of his piece of land to his daughter despite his failure to pay $3.7 million in damages over a fishing boat oil spill.

In September 2009, the Emergency Management Office paid Ogumoro $12,000 to pick up 12 residents of Alamagan and Agrihan after Super Typhoon Choi-Wan devastated the islands. There were questions as to whether his boat, the Blue Marlin, was certified by the Coast Guard to carry passengers.

Another boat captain was quoted by the Saipan Tribune:
“They are risking these people's lives and the government is going to pay 12 grand for it,” he said. “They're trying to lie about it. But I want the paper to get involved because the people need to know what is going on.”

The captain said he has nothing against Ogumoro, whom he described as a “nice guy.” But he noted that the DPS official had been cited by a federal agency for an oil spill before and that he has a pending civil case in the district court.

“This is not right for the people in the Northern Islands that have lost everything that they are going to throw them on this fishing boat with no cover, with no blankets, with no beddings,” he pointed out.
Photos by Ferdie de la Torre from Saipan Tribune

Aldan Released

Convicted violent criminal, Vicente Aldan who is married to Governor Fitial's "Special Polictical Advisor" and former Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Dolores Aldan, was temporarily released by Judge David Wiseman.

The criminal was scheduled to be released June 7, 2010 but he had refused to surrender the handgun used in the violent attack of his former common-law wife.  Turning over the weapon was a condition of his plea agreement. 

Now it seems he finally remembers what happened to the gun, and it looks like the DPS is involved again:
In his “notice to the court and the attorney general” filed on June 30, 2010, Aldan declared that the handgun was issued to a Department of Public Safety officer who dated the inmate’s nephew.

The officer gave the gun to Aldan’s nephew instead of surrendering it when it was being recalled or replaced by DPS.

Aldan obtained the gun from his nephew.

Aldan told the court he believes that DPS retrieved the gun from where he hid it to protect the wrongdoing of the officer.

“The court welcomes this forthcoming information from [Aldan]; however, the court finds it necessary to clarify inconsistencies with [Aldan’s] former testimony, as well as, the declaration. Thus, the court needs to hear additional testimony, in order to determine if [Aldan] has purged himself of his contempt,” Wiseman stated in his written order yesterday.

Wiseman required Aldan to appear for his court hearing on Aug. 3, 2010 “to elaborate on his declaration,” since Aldan’s counsel Joaquin DLG. Torres was off-island

Prior to the show cause hearing, Wiseman said Aldan never stated that the defendant believed the gun was in possession of Tinian DPS.

The Tinian police earlier informed the Attorney General’s Office that it did not have a record of the firearm used by Aldan against his former partner.
So what made Aldan finally recall where the gun was? The fact that he lo longer had those weekend furloughs and didn't like the prison? Will this Tinian police officer be suspended? Or maybe that wouldn't work because Fitial would just reinstate him. Never mind, just lock your doors and keep your children close if you live the CNMI.  Is the CNMI safe with all of the light sentences handed down for criminals and for rapists, sexual offenders and violent criminals getting paroled or released early,  and law enforcement personnel committing crimes of their own?


The Saipan Blogger said...

Ambrose also fishes in the new monument with his boat.

Anonymous said...

As long as we accept this insanity, it will continue. The silence is what allows this. Anywhere else there would be protests outside the Guv's Office, DPS and AGO.

Anonymous said...

Ref to noni 7:37, like in Guam when they had the incident with the police Chief chasing a motorist in an unmarked police pick up.(and other questionable instances) After a huge public outcry, he was forced to resign and now under the Guam law is reapplying to work in the DPS as a Captain. There is public out cry from this also.

Anonymous said...

The entire government is run like a dictatorship. Fear is instilled in the people with threats of losing jobs, businesses being blackballed, harassment to those it is difficult to terminate, and all in all, no one that will stand up and take the initiative. So many scandals in this and past administrations that it all becomes a blur. I know that I and my wife would be without income if I were to speak out. Now all we do is whisper in small groups watching for the Governors spy's as news travels fast and so do administrative actions. When will the madness stop? Where there is outside intervention or we finally elect common honest people. Get rid of career politicians.

Anonymous said...

What I do not understand is, since this guy owes the Feds the 3mil+, how does he get to own a large boat (again)I wonder who's name it is in.

Does he even have a US Coast Guard license to carry passengers?
Even a "six pack" license?
His boat is not an inspected vessel to be licensed to carry passengers, let alone to carry more than six.
This would also mean that he does not have any liability insurance on the passengers or other mishaps.
Yet this NMI Govt. "illegally" hires him and his boat.
(what happened to the money received for this "charter". Did it go to the Feds?
I am wondering what will be coming down the line (Feds) on this past boat activity.
This guy is out of control and, like the rest of this admin, thinks he can(has)get away with anything he wants to do.
Not much unlike this Gov. and the rest of his "criminals".

From his past and current activities, I am wondering what type of a discharge this guy got from the US Marine Corps and how many years he managed to serve.
If in fact he served honorably and got an honorable discharge, he followed all of the rules, then why, since coming "home", has he been in so much problems?

The Saipan Blogger said...

It is dishonorable to question someone's service to our country. If he served, he served. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Saipan Blogger,

You are so quick to put people in their place when they dishonor someone. Heed your own advice.

You have slandered many people with your stupid comments and unverified blog posts.

Most recently you messed up and slandered a dive shop owner out here based on speculation and a photo you stole from his site.

Now you have attacked a local, Troy Williams. Yes. Check again. Troy had lived in Saipan much longer than you ever did. He is a part of our community just as much as you or Felix is. And who are you to determine who can and can not fish in our waters and what methods they can employ and what fish they can catch? Are you a branch sect of DFW?

Perhaps you called Troy a tourist because he is white complected and has the last name Williams. Maybe you need to stop dishonoring people.

Time to check yourself.

Anonymous said...

Friday, July 26, 2013
OAG disqualification in Buckingham case found moot
See the story:

Attorney General Joey P. San Nicolas, Wiseman said, concurs and agrees that Office of the Public Auditor legal counsel Hasselback is to remain special prosecutor in this matter.


Thursday, July 11, 2013
Inos to govt lawyers: Be ‘very careful’ in your dealings
See the story:

Gov. Eloy S. Inos called on government lawyers yesterday to be “very careful” in their dealings in the community to prevent the mere “appearance” of impropriety or actual breach of trust and ethical rules, following a briefing he received from Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas on chief prosecutor Shelli Neal’s fishing trip to Pagan aboard a boat owned and captained by criminal defendant Ambrosio Ogumoro.

Ogumoro, a former Department of Public Safety commissioner, is a subject of an ongoing investigation that Neal is currently overseeing.

The governor, however, said he leaves it up to the AG to decide whether to allow Neal to continue overseeing an ongoing investigation related to Ogumoro.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Inos weighs in on Neal’s trip to Pagan
See the story here:

Without passing judgment, Gov. Eloy S. Inos said yesterday that there is an “appearance of some potential ethical issues” on the part of chief prosecutor Shelli Neal’s recent trip to Pagan aboard a boat owned and captained by a criminal defendant, former Public Safety commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro.

The governor said he has yet to receive from Attorney General Joey Patrick San Nicolas a briefing on Neal’s trip to Pagan.

Inos indicated he did not know what transpired, including the 18-hour boat ride that included a prosecutor and a criminal defendant.

“I would talk to the AG,” the governor told reporters yesterday.

Ogumoro is among the defendants in an alleged police escort and alleged misappropriation case that also involves former attorney general Edward Buckingham, former governor Benigno R. Fitial, and other law enforcement officers.