Sun. Aug 18th, 2019

Drug Trafficker Tipped Off By Source Within Judicial System, Court Hears

A Jury in the Meth-related criminal conspiracy case Republic of Palau vs. Nicanor Gates, which ended in a guilty verdict this week, heard testimony that another defendant in the alleged conspiracy was tipped off about a Narcotics Enforcement Agency sting-action by a tip-off that could have come from within the judicial system.

Julio Kazou, from the island of Angaur, will face trial later this year on drug charges. It is understood that he intends to contest the charges and as such the presumption of innocence fully applies to him.

At the trial of Nicanor Gates, who was alleged and convicted by jurors of having conspired to import over 160 grams of Methamphetamine into the Republic of Palau via a parcel sent from California, Narcotics Enforcement Agency (NEA) director Ismael Aguon provided testimony regarding what happened when the drug-filled parcel arrived in Palau. Julio Kazou, he testified under oath, may have been tipped off, from an as yet unidentified source within the court system about an NEA controlled delivery operation.

At Nicanor Gates’ trial, an NEA agent testified that after the parcel containing the dangerous illegal drugs was intercepted by authorities at Koror Post Office, the NEA carried out a controlled delivery operation. As part of this operation, authorities would allow the parcel to be handed out to whomever came to pick it up, while conducting surveillance in an unmarked police car. The agent alleged that George Remeliik went to pick up this parcel, and was later stopped and questioned by the NEA. At this questioning, at which according to the NEA agent standard civil-rights related Miranda warnings may not have been provided to the suspect Remeliik, though he was told he had a right not speak, Remeliik is alleged to have testified that the package with the drugs was in fact ultimately for Julio Kazou. A controlled delivery operation was arranged with Remekiik’s cooperation, where he rode the public boat to Angaur to deliver the parcel, repackaging it as instructed by Kazou on the phone. However, Kazou delayed the delivery, ultimately never taking receipt of it. It later emerged, it is alleged that due to a tip-off, Kazou already knew police were investigating.

As a result, the operation did not lead to Kazou being caught taking receipt in Angaur of the meth-filled parcel from a person, George Remeliik, whom it is alleged he had sent to pick up for him at the post-office in Koror.

Asked about the allegations, the Office of the Special Prosecutor informed the Island Times in a hand-delivered written letter on Thursday afternoon, before a verdict had been handed down in the case of Republic of Palau vs. Nicanor Gates, that the Office of the Special Prosecutor would not be able to comment on ongoing proceedings.

“As the case is not yet concluded, it would be inappropriate for us to make any comments. Upon completion of the case, we will be able to follow up on any testimony that may lend itself to investigation by our office. We take all information seriously….”, stated Special Prosecutor April Dawn Cripps in the letter. (Colin C. Cortbus/Reporting from the Supreme Court in Koror)