CNMI Senator Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge
United States Attorney ALICIA A.G. LIMTIACO, U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), announced that JUAN MANGLONA AYUYU, Senator for Rota in the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature, pleaded guilty today to federal charges in the U.S. District Court on Saipan.
In a written plea agreement, AYUYU pleaded guilty to Count One of the indictment in Criminal Case Number 1:12-cr-00036-1 (Conspiracy to Violate the Endangered Species Act) and Count One of the indictment in Criminal Case Number 1:12-cr-00039 (Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding). In the plea agreement and at the plea hearing, AYUYU admitted that in October 2010 he conspired with his legislative assistant, Ryan James Inos Manglona, to transport eight federally protected Mariana fruit bats, or Fanihi, from Rota to Saipan on board a Freedom Air flight. AYUYU also admitted that after the bats were discovered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), he conspired in November 2010 to obstruct the ensuing federal grand jury investigation by asking Ryan Manglona to lie to the grand jury about their involvement. (Ryan Manglona previously pleaded guilty to perjury before the grand jury and conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species and Lacey Acts.)
In AYUYU’s plea agreement, the parties agreed -- subject to the Court’s approval -- that AYUYU will receive a sentence of between thirty-three and forty-one months in prison. The United States also agreed to dismiss the remaining charges after AYUYU is sentenced. Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona set AYUYU’s sentencing for November 8, 2013.
The case was investigated by agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife, an agency under the Department of Lands and Natural Resources. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garth R. Backe and Ross K. Naughton.