Pohnpei Supreme Court issues warrants for probable cause of dredging violations in U

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press


November 23, 2018

Pohnpei—Today Pohnpei Law Enforcement executed court ordered arrest warrants against Costan Yoma, Ense Rodriguez, and Hignio Iriarte issued on November 22, 2013.  They also executed search warrants in connection with charges against the defendants related to dredging activities that may have been in violation of the law.

None of the men have been convicted of any crime and are presumed to be innocent unless otherwise proved in a court of law.  They have not yet had any hearing.

13 separate charges have been filed against all of the defendants in relation to dredging activities.  Yoma has separately been charged with six additional charges.  Iriarte has separately been charged with three additional charges.

The search warrant commands law enforcement officers to search the shoreline of Kapwon-Paieke in U Municipality and also to search Black Sand Company located near the Pohnpei General Hospital in Liwi, Nett, as well as the other Black Sand Company locations located in Nett Municipality.

Officers have been instructed to “search for, to seize, to analyze and to deal with according to law”, all tangible and electronic, personal and business records, documents, materials related to unlawful mining and dredging and other offenses with which defendants are charged.  They are also to seize all personal and business mechanical equipment, tools, motor vehicles and other apparatuses relating to the alleged offenses.  They are also to seize all objects or other materials obtained through alleged unlawful dredging activities related to the charges including seabed corals, rocks, sand, gravel and any other dredged material.

The charges against all of the men include allegations of Criminal Conspiracy, Accessories, Compounding a Crime, and violations of several chapters of the laws regarding the conditions for mining or dredging.  Yoma additionally faces five additional charges of violations against the law on Conditions for Mining or Dredging and one for alleged violation of laws on contractor’s licenses.  Iriarte faces three charges of violating Contractor’s licensing laws.

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