On Monday, July 19, Palau Supreme Court sentenced Aiken Uehara to 25-years imprisonment for Trafficking and 15-years for Possession of Controlled Substance (methamphetamine), both imprisonment terms to run concurrently, meaning, he will be in jail for 25 years. In addition, Court fined him $50,000 for the Trafficking count and $10,000 for Possession. Uehara will not be eligible for work release during his imprisonment term.
These are minimum penalties under the law imposed for these crimes.
On July 7th, Uehara filed a motion seeking the return of his $50,000 cash bail that he posted in April 3, 2020. The court issued an order denying his motion, forfeiting the funds to the Republic due to his violation of his pre-trial release in January 2021.
Mr.Uehara was charged with Trafficking of Controlled Substance and Possession of Controlled Substance for incidents that occurred in January of 2020. His case went to jury trial in April of 2021 but was declared a mistrial and was rescheduled to June 18th. After a two-day trial, jury convicted him on both counts.
In his sentencing, he requested leniency citing that he felt “demonized by law enforcement and the media” and because of “respect for law enforcement as well as his family, he had difficulty talking to his family about his case.” He asked for leniency so that he can be a “good family man to his wife and two young children.”
Court said that it heard Uehara’s request for leniency but “without showing of any available rehabilitation programs”, anything less than incarceration will fail to deter the defendant from engaging in the same conduct or protect the public. The court says that his failure to comply with pre-trial release conditions show he will not be able to comply with conditions of probation.
His wife, Rur Gibbons, on June 18th was sentenced for Possession of Controlled Substance and sentenced to 15-years imprisonment and $10,000 fine. The court suspended the entire imprisonment sentence and converted her $10,000 bail to pay for her fine. She had requested leniency due her two young children.