Judge Anita Sukola on May 11, 2017 handed down a 30 year sentence to David Manila, former police officer convicted of rape, kidnapping and other crimes in connection with the Blue House karaoke bar, which was a front for a brothel. Jasmine Stole/PDN
A woman who was deported after she was convicted for her part in a former underground brothel and pleaded guilty to illegally returning to U.S. soil was sentenced to four months in prison.
Saknin Weria from 2005 through 2007 voluntarily worked at Blue House karaoke lounge and monitored the women who were forced into prostitution, court documents state.
She was convicted in that case and later ordered to be removed from the U.S.
She left in August 2017 to the Federated States of Micronesia.
In June 2018, she arrived at the Guam airport off a flight originating from Chuuk state and she was charged in federal court.
She pleaded guilty in August 2018 to illegal reentry of a removed alien.
Weria was sentenced by District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood Wednesday.
Her family including her parents, sister and daughter were in the courtroom and everyone wore white for the occasion.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rosetta San Nicolas recommended Weria be sentenced to the low end of the guidelines at 8 months imprisonment.
She acknowledged that she wasn’t opposed to variance to the sentence, but not the credit for two days time served Weria’s attorney Assistant Federal Public Defender Leilani Lujan recommended.
Tydingco-Gatewood indicated that she wouldn’t consider the recommendation and Lujan said a one month sentence would be her new recommendation.
Lujan argued that Weria’s case was unique and that she didn’t come into Guam using a fake passport or another name. Her client made a mistake on coming back to Guam based on wrong information she had.
Her client knows now that she can’t return to Guam without express permission from the U.S. and sentencing Weria to more than one month in prison would be a waste of resources, Lujan said.
Weria’s daughter. Niniann Weria, 13, read a letter signed by the family member’s, asking for the judge’s forgiveness.
“We are very sorry to you and the people of Guam,” she said.
The Weria family have lived on Guam for many years and go to a small church and they have been faced with whispers and criticism from people, she said.
The family said they were the ones who encouraged Saknin Weria to come back to Guam based on bad information and were sorry.
Her time on Guam has made the family whole and her deportation back to Chuuk is a deep and lasting punishment, Niniann Weria said.
The family now knows Saknin Weria can’t come back to Guam without approval and will ensure it doesn’t happen again, she said.
Saknin Weria spoke to the court saying she was sorry for what she did.
She said her case has affected her and has been hard. She said she is sorry to her family and to the people of Guam and was sorry for returning without permission.
Weria said she grew up on Guam and her whole family is on the island so it’s difficult to be away from them, but she understands she can’t come back.
“I’m sorry, please forgive me,” she said.
The chief judge said while Weria’s case was unique since there were factors that concerned her, including her prior convictions and a document she signed before she left Guam to Chuuk stating she isn’t to return to the U.S.
Lujan said her client not being able to come back to Guam was essentially exile which she thinks is worse than prison.
Tydingco-Gatewood ultimately sentenced Weria to four months in prison. The judge allowed Weria to self-surrender for her prison sentence 9 a.m. Friday.
Weria will also have two-year supervised release and will have to report to immigration officials immediately after she’s out of prison.
The judge will recommend Weria stay on Guam to serve her sentence since it’s a short one.
She also reminded Weria that she cannot come back to the U.S. without the proper approval so Weria has no doubt she cannot return.
“Good luck,” Tydingco-Gatewood told Weria.
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