A week-long jury trial began yesterday for a man accused of trafficking methamphetamine on three different occasions.
Mr. Silverio Rengulbai is charged on six counts, three of Possession of a Controlled Substance and three of Trafficking a Controlled Substance. The trial is examining three alleged drug deals which are said to have taken place in September 2017, November 2018, and March 2020, all of which used a Confidential Informant (CI) to make “controlled buys”, or purchase of a suspected drug by a buyer secretly working with law enforcement. In all three cases, the substance which was purchased from Mr. Rengulbai field-tested positive for meth.
The trial will involve testimonies from civilian and police witnesses, as well as other traffickers who acted as CI’s in police operations. Narcotic experts based in Guam, who positively identified the drug, will testify remotely.
Director Ismael Aguon of the Narcotics Enforcement Agency (NEA), who was in charge of the investigations against Mr. Rengulbai and who testified on Monday, said that the NEA has been investigating the defendant since before 2017. However, criminal prosecution was postponed because the NEA wanted to know “at what level this person is operating”. Director Aguon said that Mr. Rengulbai was arrested last year once the NEA was convinced that he was “the main trafficker”, and that he wasn’t operating under a higher-up.
Police reports say that Mr. Rengulbai admitted to being a long-time user of meth and stated that he did not traffic drugs for a living, only selling to people he knows.
Director Aguon said that meth, which has the appearance and consistency of ice crystals, is very concealable, which often presents a problem to law enforcement. “Controlled buys” seek to avoid this problem by bringing illegal substances directly to law enforcement, where it can be field-tested, and by using police surveillance and hidden recordings to identify traffickers.
In her opening statement, Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Sullivan of the Office of the Attorney General stressed the damage which the meth trade causes to communities and to the country, adding that more and more younger people are being dragged into the drug trade and associated crime.
“It is your communities, your families, which are at risk when someone . . . brings ‘ice’ into the community,” said Ms. Sullivan.
Defending Mr. Rengulbai is Defense Attorney Johnson Toribiong. Presiding over the trial is Justice Kathleen Salii.
The trial is one in a series of meth-related criminal trials scheduled in the next several months, with Mr. Aiken Uehara and Mr. Burton Wenty, both accused of trafficking meth, set to stand trial in March and May of this year.

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