After Mateo Sardoma was arrested last October on allegations of torture and kidnapping, the drug trafficking suspect allegedly stashed guns, methamphetamine and other evidence into secret compartments in a fleet of rental cars.
That is the theory of federal investigators, who raided Sardoma’s Dededo home and the rental cars on Feb. 15, according to District Court of Guam documents. It was the second raid in only four months, and it allegedly uncovered four guns and seven bags of marijuana, but no methamphetamine, the documents state.
Sardoma and nine other suspects have since been indicted in what U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco called one of the largest drug busts in recent years.
Federal prosecutors have accused Sardoma of conspiring to sell 300 grams of methamphetamine, or ice, but details of the case were not available until court documents about the recent raid became public yesterday.
The new court documents reveal that federal investigators are talking with at least three “cooperating defendants” who allegedly witnessed Sardoma using, selling and receiving ice.
The court documents also explain that agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives suspected that Sardoma started shifting evidence to hidden spaces in rental cars in November, shortly after he was arrested in a separate local case.
Sardoma and two other suspects — Rudy Paul Hernandez Sablan and Christopher A.D. Mesa — were arrested late last year for allegedly torturing a handyman they suspected had stolen drugs from them. The suspects allegedly tied the man up, then shocked him with a taser, shot him with blanks and punched his teeth out before he managed to flee into the jungle, according Superior Court of Guam documents.
After speaking with the handyman, police scanned the Dededo house to find evidence of the alleged torture, but the only drug evidence they recovered was small. ATF agents believe Sardoma started moving evidence to the rental cars soon after this raid, so agents returned to the house in mid-February.
More than 60 items were seized in the second raid, court documents state. This allegedly includes shotguns, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, security cameras, many cellphones and other electronics — but still no methamphetamine — court documents state.
Sablan and Mesa were among the nine suspects indicted alongside Sardoma in the larger drug case. The others are Walter Duenas, Sylvia Mashburn Duenas, Eduardo V. Lake, Anthony Aro Villanueva, Joseph Cabellero, Elizabeth L. Aguon and Maria C. Edrosa.
Sablan, who has a criminal history spanning three decades, faces 18 charges of felon with a firearm because federal agents allegedly uncovered a cache of guns during a separate raid at his home last April. Sardoma also has previous convictions, so he faces charges for the firearms allegedly found during the Feb. 15 raid.