Wiretaps reveal extensive drug trafficking organization involving law enforcement

Redd Wolford. Boom Mantanona. Ray Tenorio. JI Cruz. Chong. Mandana. Ken Mantanona. CID. SWAT. GPD Dispatch. Customs. DOC. 477-2979. ABT. Mandana. 472-0565. Charfauros. Female drug user at OAG. Buried treasure. Confidential sources. Ben Rios. Eric Aponik. And hundreds of redacted names.

A now-convicted drug trafficker, who bragged she had on her payroll high level cops connected all the way to the former governor’s office, was calling the shots on whom police would arrest and who to stay away from during the time Ray Tenorio was in charge of the Guam Police Department. This is according to an October 29, 2018 application for a warrant in federal court. The wiretaps from that warrant revealed an extensive conspiracy and network of a drug trafficking organization aided by law enforcement from several local agencies, including a female drug user at the Office of the Attorney General of Guam. That information led to a second wiretap warrant.

John “Boom” Mantanona

After nearly six years, the federal government finally has unsealed the lengthy wire tap warrants for John “Boom” Mantanona’s cell phone. While the details of the fruits of that wire tap remain under seal in one of Guam’s highest profile, yet heavily guarded secret federal prosecutions of police and public corruption, the warrant application by FBI special agent Patrick Ernst reveals a conspiracy involving drug traffickers and police officers who bragged to each other about the protection and connection they had to continue their conspiracy to the Office of the Governor.

The drug trafficking, police and public corruption conspiracy began January 1, 2016 and ended January 15, 2019, according to the June 2019 indictment against Mr. Mantanona in the U.S. District Court of Guam. The case has been continued 18 times over three-month continuance stretches, each of them being made in tandem with grants by the federal court to continue sealing the case from public view.

The first wire tap began on October 30, 2018. “During the interception period, monitors intercepted calls involving the distribution of methamphetamine hydrochloride and the use of sensitive law enforcement information to evade law enforcement,” Mr. Ernst wrote in the application for the second warrant.

According to Mr. Ernst, the FBI needed to use the wiretaps to:

  1. “Identify drug traffickers that are paying Mantanona for protection,”
  2. “Identify individuals within law enforcement that are supplying Mantanona with sensitive law enforcement information,”
  3. “Determine the extent to which those supplying sensitive information to Mantanona know the information will be divulged to drug traffickers and should be pursued as co-conspirators,”
  4. “Determine the origin and source of the sensitive law enforcement information,”
  5. “Determine the methods and tactics Mantanona and other individuals are using to transmit the sensitive information to others, and”
  6. “Determine the identities of jurors who have been influenced by Mantanona and/or other members of the [redacted by the federal government].”

The investigation, according to the FBI, was so volatile and dangerous that federal prosecutors had to apply for the warrant in the U.S. District Court of Hawaii to avoid detection by corrupt officials in Guam.

In early 2019, Kandit – while researching the federal court system’s nationwide online archive system for clues into the activities of Guam’s federal prosecutors – happened upon the original motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rosetta San Nicolas in the federal court in Honolulu that began the investigation on … Kandit broke that story on that case, which has been sealed since. Over the years, documents in other federal prosecutions have been unsealed that have provided clues into the Boom Mantanona case. Those documents have revealed evidence gathered by the FBI regarding the alleged conspiracies among Mantanona, his cousin and former Mandana Drug Task Force commander Ken Mantanona, convicted drug dealers Audrey “Redd” Wolford, Eric Aponik and Vincent “Ben” Rios, and other unnamed co-conspirators.

But for the first time, a document has been unsealed that links the entire conspiracy and goes into great detail – including cell phone numbers, call logs, targeted and transcribed conversations, payments, bank records, and the allegations that the former governor and his former police chief, along with others in GPD were knowledgable of or party to the conspiracy.

The targets

The target suspects of the conspiracy to distribute meth, according to the documents, without fear of local law enforcement knowledge include Boom Mantanona, Ms. Wolford, and a name redacted in the unsealed documents. The phone number Mr. Ernst associates with that name and the GPD position that person held at the time point to Ken “KD” Mantanona, a now retired police major and former republican candidate for mayor of Inarajan.

Mr. Ernst said in his application that Boom Mantanona “provides protection, in the form of sensitive law enforcement information and counter-surveillance, to known drug traffickers, including Audrey Wolford, in exchange for money.”

Ms. Wolford was the second target, who at the time of the warrant, Mr. Ernst wrote, “is a drug trafficker who pays Mantanona for protection from law enforcement.”

The third target’s name was redacted by Mr. Ernst, but his job description at the time of the warrant fits that of retired cop Ken Mantanona. “This position also includes the oversight of the GPD Mandana Drug Task Force. GPD CID is responsible for the majority of the criminal investigations for the department. As set forth in more detail below, [name redacted by the federal government] is providing Mantanona with sensitive law enforcement information and authorizing Mantanona to participate in GPD official actions, surveillance and enforcement operations.”

The “governor” and the chief of police

As previously reported by Kandit, a person identified only as Confidential Source #2 – a person arrested on federal drug trafficking and firearms charges in January 2017, who pleaded guilty under seal one month later, and who by May that year began cooperating as an informant for the federal government – called Ms. Wolford on February 8, 2018 with the FBI recording the call. In that conversation, CS #2 coaxed Ms. Wolford to talk to him about the illegal services Boom Mantanona could provide to him.

“He’ll give you heads up over all the raids are going to happen,” Ms. Wolford told CS #2 on the recorded phone call about Boom Mantanona.

“He told me he’s a retired cop 30 years, so how the hell does he know when it’s going to happen or what’s going to happen?” CS #2 prodded Ms. Wolford.

She replied, “He has someone inside, inside, inside. He has someone in there. He’s actually the right hand for the governor – he’s the right hand for the chief of police.”

Mr. Ernst, in analyzing the phone conversation for the court, said he believes Ms. Wolford was telling CS #2 that someone in GPD is passing information of law enforcement investigations and operations to Boom Mantanona.

“I believe Wolford is advising CS #2, in addition to Mantanona’s GPD contact or contacts, Mantanona is very close with the Governor of Guam and GPD Chief of Police, and both the Governor and Chief of Police seek Mantanona’s input on important decisions,” Mr. Ernst said in the 2018 warrant application.

Ray Tenorio

The governor at the time was Eddie Calvo. The chief of police then was Joseph “JI” Cruz. While Mr. Calvo was the governor, the GPD and the other law enforcement agencies had little to no operational management by Mr. Calvo himself. At the start of his tenure, he assigned that responsibility to his lieutenant governor, Ray Tenorio. Mr. Tenorio assigned special assistants within his office to direct the activities of the several heads of the law enforcement agencies, which included orders involving investigations by the GPD. That included, most especially, the Mandana Drug Task Force, which Mr. Tenorio convinced Mr. Calvo to authorize in their second term in office.

Mr. Tenorio also was the person who directed the police chief to assign Ken “KD” Mantanona to head the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), which oversaw the Mandana Drug Task Force.

“Every time they need something done or – they need a decision, they call him,” Ms. Wolford bragged in the phone conversation to CS #2. She then described the May 2, 2017 Mandana raid of Mark Mayo and how the task force actually was suited up that day to raid someone else on Nevermind Road. She said once she learned this information she called up Boom Mantanona and said, “Uncle you – can you disregard that?”

According to what Ms. Wolford told CS #2 about the event, Boom Mantanona replied, “Redd, give me someone to raid.”

“I said Mark Mayo. Then they did it,” she said on the phone.’

According to the recorded phone conversations, Ms. Wolford was so influential over the operations of GPD’s criminal investigations division, that the Mandana Drug Task Force knew better “not to say my name.” That power, according to her, had to do with Boom Mantanona and his “man” on the inside.

Boom and Ken Mantanona are cousins. Their other cousin is Ray Tenorio.

Joseph “JI” Cruz

“I believe that Wolford is stating that she is close with Mantanona, who has connections with powerful people like the Governor and Chief of Police,” Mr. Ernst said in his analysis. “I believe Wolford is further stating that members of GPD Mandana are afraid to target Wolford’s drug trafficking activities because of Wolford’s close relationship with Mantanona.”

The agent said that evidence points to Mandana members providing courtesy phone calls to Boom Mantanona to warn Ms. Wolford if her drug trafficking activities were becoming noticeable.

Recorded conversations also insinuate Mr. Mantanona had officers inside the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency who could help his clients to evade detection of drug imports, and at Department of Corrections who would help inmates to continue the drug trade within the confines.

Through the course of the investigation leading up to the second warrant application, recorded phone conversations and text messages revealed several requests by known drug traffickers made to Ms. Wolford to employ Mr. Mantanona to provide them the same GPD protection she was receiving. The FBI, according to Mr. Ernst, believed Boom Mantanona was being paid by others and needed continuous wiretaps on his cell phone to find out who those people are.


The 706 answered calls between Mantanona and local law enforcement

Pen register and trap and trace device warrants were issued throughout 2018 by the federal court for Boom Mantanona’s cell phone number. The data that was returned showed that – during about a one-year period from October 1, 2017 to October 24, 2018 – “there were 599 answered phone calls and 142 text messages” between Boom and Ken Mantanona’s cell phones.

“I believe [name redacted by the federal government] is likely using these phone calls as a means to provide sensitive law enforcement information to [Boom] Mantanona,” Mr. Ernst wrote.

An earlier warrant, which allowed the FBI to pull Boom Mantanona’s text messages through IT&E’s servers, produced evidence of the two Mantanonas in an alleged conspiracy, where Ken Mantanona would provide his cousin with sensitive criminal investigation information, and Boom Mantanona would pay his cousin for the services.

According to Mr. Ernst’s warrant application, Ken Mantanona provided his cousin with personal information about private citizens, the timing and locations of warrants police will be executing, and on whom search warrants have been secured. Among their text message conversations include the “location of witnesses.”

Recorded conversations between Boom Mantanona and confidential sources working for the FBI and the ATF revealed his knowledge of where police would be on certain days, what investigations they were working on, and the names of “snitches” that clients could pay Boom Mantanona to know.

Mr. Ernst provided the answered phone call counts for other phone numbers linked directly to local law enforcement. These include 10 answered calls with the GPD phone number 477-2979; 50 answered calls with two GPD dispatch phone numbers. 25 answered calls with the DOC switchboard phone number, and 22 answered calls with the DOC auxiliary number 472-0565.

Kandit called the 477-2979 phone number, which now is disconnected. According to GPD spokeswoman Berlyn Savella, that phone number used to connect to GPD’s highway patrol division.


Cop pulls over drug dealer carrying meth, lets him go after drug dealer hands the phone to cop with Mantanona on the line

According to Mr. Ernst, he read an April 19, 2017 DEA report in the case of Ms. Wolford’s drug trafficking associate, Vincent “Ben” Rios, where Mr. Rios told investigators he paid Boom Mantanona $30,000 for heads up about whether he would be investigated.

“Rios further stated he was once pulled over by GPD and he called Mantanona to speak to the officer,” Mr. Ernst wrote. “After the call, the officer allowed Rios to leave.”

According to the report, Mr. Rios admitted that when that unnamed cop pulled him over and let him go after speaking with Boom Mantanona, Mr. Rios had $250,000 and nearly a pound and a half of meth in the car.

The FBI does not believe this is an isolated incident, which is among the reasons in 2018 they were pursuing the wire taps.


Chong, Charfauros, ABT, and SWAT’s knowledge of large drug shipment from the Philippines

In Mr. Ernst’s application for the second wiretap warrant, which was issued in November 2018, the special agent analyzed a transcription of an October 31, 2018 phone call Boom Mantanona made to phone number 475-8615. That is one of GPD’s dispatch numbers. According to Mr. Ernst, Boom Mantanona asked to be connected to a person whose name was redacted by the federal government.

However, in the transcription, the federal government did not redact the name of the person Boom Mantanona was conversing with; someone by the last name of “Chong.”

The two, in the wiretapped recording, discussed their knowledge of what the FBI agent believed to be a large shipment of drugs on its way to Guam from the Philippines and how those in Mandana and GPD’s SWAT were aware that the drugs were on the way.

“The problem here is there’s uh officers nai that knows these people,” Boom Mantanona said to Chong. “That’s especially on the SWAT… And then if they brief them nai… You know very sensitive things… You know when I call [name redacted by the federal government], you know majority of them that case about eighty percent of that Mandana that [unintelligible].”

Chong did not participate in many words during that part of the conversation, however he was chattier later in the wiretapped call in a conversation about former police commander Mark Charfauros and Agat Blood Town.

“They are right,” Boom Mantanona said to Chong in that wiretapped conversation. “They are right, that the colonel cannot be in uh obstruct the operation of the police officer.”

Chong replied, “You know Boom, there are mechanisms man. You know if somebody wants to complain the officer is doing something bad there’s a mechanism. You don’t just go there and yell at everybody.”

“Yeah because his son is there,” Boom Mantanona replied. “[Name redacted by the federal government] is a drug dealer and he call go call uncle uh uh [name redacted by the federal government]. You ever pass uh the [redacted by the federal government] house? See how many cars he has?”

“Oh yeah. He has a lot,” Chong replied.

Later in that same conversation, Boom Mantanona said to Chong, “And I see [unintelligible] where is this guy getting his money? Cause [redacted by the federal government] is paying his attorney.”

“I know that ABT has a relationship with [redacted by the federal government], two known drug traffickers in Agat,” Mr. Ernst said in his analysis of the Mantanona-Chong phone call. “I also know there is suspicion that [redacted by the federal government] has a relationship with ABT and there is suspicion that an ABT member contacted [name redacted by the federal government] for his help when GPD officers arrived in Agat to investigate the illegal fireworks … The above conversation demonstrates Mantanona’s drug trafficking knowledge of ABT affiliates, [name redacted by the federal government] and [name redacted by the federal government], and a possible relationship between [name redacted by the federal government], a GPD [redacted by the federal government] at the time. Mantanona relays that [name redacted by the federal government] instructed an ABT member who was a relative of [name redacted by the federal government] to call his “uncle [name redacted by the federal government]” to help with GPD officers in Agat. Mantanona also relays that [name redacted by the federal government] is paying [name redacted by the federal government] attorney fees resulting from [redacted by the federal government] interference in the matter.”


Redd’s extensive drug trafficking plans with Mantanona

Audrey “Redd” Wolford

Beginning around 2 p.m. Guam time on a wiretapped call on November 5, 2018, Boom Mantanona and Redd Wolford talked in length about Ms. Wolford’s drug trafficking plans, ways for her to avoid detection from law enforcement, and how she would pay him in cash and notify him of the money drops via coded messages.

Ms. Wolford, according to the transcription of the conversation, told Boom Mantanona she would be resuming her trafficking operations once a drug shipment comes in, and inquired whether his fee would be the same.

“With everything, the more you give, the better,” he told her.

“You need to fix your people,” he advised her, to which she replied that this time around, she would handle the drug dealing herself from her home. He told her not to deal from her home.

“I already learned my lesson already, I learned my rule,” Ms. Wolford replied, “by listening to you. I don’t carry money. I don’t carry dope.”

Later in the conversation, Boom Mantanona told her not to trust Eric Aponik, who by then was a confidential source for the federal government following his sealed indictment in February 2017 for drug trafficking. The DEA and the FBI had identified Mr. Aponik, Vincent “Ben” Rios, and Ms. Wolford as belonging to the same drug trafficking organization. However, at the time of wiretapped conversation, no one but select people in law enforcement were supposed to know about the charges against Mr. Aponik. Even fewer were supposed to know he was a confidential source.

Wolford and Mantanona, according to the transcription, discussed a scheme for her to retrieve a drug package meant for Mr. Aponik and to keep the drug proceeds for themselves.

“Keep it and look at him and just say I didn’t pick it up because uh it’s being tracked, being followed,” Boom Mantanona told her. “But I can still have it.”

Later in the conversation, she revealed to him how when a drug shipment arrives, she prefers to handle its distribution from a hotel. He advised her not to do that anymore, and to make arrangements where money and meth never change hands, but is dropped and picked up at pre-arranged locations. They then agree that placing drops on top of tires was a better tactic for her to employ.

Following that discussion, the two began to plan text message codes she would use to signal to him that money from the drug sales would be available for him to pick up at the residence of his brother in law, which is behind one of the island’s Catholic Churches.

“No, but or when you text me, said me I have a flat tire, like that,” he said. “Or star, yeah, the star meaning… The star meaning you, you, you, yo9u got it and then Lana, and then ah, to pick it up, put ah, what’s another code?”

“I will put star and dollar sign,” she replied.

“No!” he exclaimed. “Don’t put dollar sign, don’t put dollar sign. Star and then ah…”

“A star and then a heart uncle,” she replied. “You’re the number one star in my heart.”

After their discussion about their coded language, Mantanona turned the discussion to the activities of an Agat drug dealer.

“Don’t trust [name redacted by the federal government],” he told her. She replied, “Oh I never deal with [name redacted by the federal government]. I don’t. I don’t do Agat, thank God.”

“Yeah because right now, they are focusing to take them down in December,” he said, to which she replied, “Oh wow, Christmas.”

“Yeah, because how stupid [name redacted by the federal government] is, he bought another house again.”

He went on to tell her that as a drug dealer it is better to hide your cash than to make large purchases that create tangible assets that attract the attention of law enforcement to seize and to create a criminal case.


Female drug user at the Office of the Attorney General of Guam

In the same wiretapped conversation, Boom Mantanona asked Ms. Wolford for the name of a female employee working at the Office of the Attorney General of Guam who is a drug user.

“[Name redacted by the federal government] nai,” she told him. “At Sinajana. You know the girl, the girl there, she RE, RE [name redacted by the federal government] is her last name … [T]hat’s how I’m able to give her a license plate number and she tells me who owns it.”

Mr. Ernst verified the name Ms. Wolford gave to Boom Mantanona against a July 12, 2018 letter from then-Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett Anderson to then Speaker Benjamin Cruz that included a staffing pattern for the OAG at the time.


Ben Rios’ $2 million buried treasure and another 2 pounds of meth stashed while in prison

Among the conversations between Wolford and Mantanona was a discussion about her former drug trafficking associate, Vincent “Ben” Rios. She told Mantanona that in a recent in-person visitation to Rios at the Guam DOC, where he was being detained prior to his shipment to a stateside federal penitentiary, Rios told her he had hid $2 million in cash and 20 pounds of methamphetamine.

“But you don’t know where it’s at right?” he asked her after she disclosed the information.



      05/24/2024 at 9:30 AM

    My “cousin’s” suspicions were right. That’s why he was being persecuted. Once all this info is confirmed and verified. “Best you piss a gallstone” than to mess with “certain” people. Just remember people were just minding their business not bothering anyone. But you decided to F#@K with FAMILY. Now you will live your lives constantly looking back over your shoulder. Remember, You brought it on. Carry the BURDEN!!! F#@K ALL OF YOU.

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