A 2018 federal search warrant unsealed only days ago in the U.S. District Court of Guam reveals details of a massive Federal Bureau of Investigation probe that accuses several high ranking police officers of corruption. The allegations in the January 4, 2018 search warrant of a phone allegedly operated by former cop and federal task force agent John “Boom” Mantanona include the involvement of Guam Police Department’s now-retired head of the criminal investigation division, which controlled the now-defunct Mandana Drug Task Force.
Kandit has previously reported on the arrest, investigation into, and ongoing federal prosecution of Mr. Mantanona linked to a secret Grand Jury being run out of Honolulu that has been focused on police and public corruption on Guam. According to case files, that investigation includes hundreds of federal wire taps into the activities of law enforcement and the politicians allegedly conspiring with them and drug traffickers to make and launder money from the elicit meth trade.
Kandit has reported, for the past nearly-five years, about the unprecedented conspiracy that began with Mandana, and which the recently unsealed warrant points all the way up to the former lieutenant governor of Guam: Ray Tenorio.
Several current and former high-ranking GPD officers are named in the unsealed document. They include the current and former heads of the Criminal Investigation Division, including a version of CID that controlled Mandana. Also named is a former cop, whom former attorney general Leevin Camacho hired into the Office of the Attorney General as a criminal investigator with access to classified criminal division files. Also named is the current head of the governor’s executive security team.
Among the high-ranking officers alleged to be co-conspirators is the cop, who allegedly ordered the arrest of then-candidate for lieutenant governor Joshua Tenorio’s sister, Charissa Tenorio, in the months prior to his election against then-Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio in 2018. Surveillance footage showed Ms. Tenorio was not at the scene of the assault she was accused of committing. Ms. Tenorio was cleared of the charges after then-Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson dropped the major charges against her. The arrest was used by the Ray Tenorio campaign against Ms. Tenorio’s brother and his runningmate, now-Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
The allegations include conspiracy by three of the island’s top drug traffickers between 2015 and 2018, all of whom are serving federal prison sentences at this time. These three traffickers – Vincent “Ben” Rios, Eric Aponik, and Audrey “Redd” Wolford – either through interview with federal agents or in wire-tapped phone conversations and text messages secured through warrant – name Mr. Mantanona as the nexus between the elicit drug trade and his high-level contacts in the Guam Police Department.
Those contacts, according to the unsealed federal court document, provided secret law enforcement information, including the names and locations of witnesses to drug crimes, the identities of confidential police sources of information, and information that led to the arrests of drug traffickers allegedly competing with Rios, Aponik, and Wolford’s operations. The information also included ways for the traffickers to avoid arrest by Mandana, and to avoid detection by Customs agents of millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine shipments entering the island.
To better understand the enormity of the alleged conspiracy, Kandit is presenting this expose in a multi-part series that begins with the statements by FBI Agent Patrick Ernst in the unsealed 2018 search warrant regarding the three drug traffickers. From there, our coverage of this matter will go into their alleged conspiracy with GPD. If you have been following our coverage of this major case the past few years, you may recognize some of the information as previously reported. Other information provided is new, as this information was only unsealed in federal court on January 23, 2023.
Here are the relevant excerpts of Mr. Ernst’s declaration to the federal court for the search warrant into Mr. Mantanona’s cellular phone: