By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Former Division of Fish and Wildlife employee David A. Santos entered a not guilty plea to all charges contained in the superseding indictment relating to the fanihi-poaching case.
Yesterday, Santos filed a waiver of appearance at arraignment through his counsel Michael Dotts in the District Court for the NMI.
Understanding his rights, Santos told the court, “I do hereby freely and voluntarily waive my right to be present at my arraignment on the Superseding Indictment and to have it read to me in open court.”
The co-defendant has the right to appear personally at his arraignment on the superseding indictment pursuant to Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
He also has the right to have the superseding indictment read to him in an open court pursuant to Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The superseding indictment charged former Rota customs officer Albert A. Taitano and former Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Santos of one count of conspiring to unlawfully take and transport a threatened species, one count of taking a threatened species, one count of transporting a threatened species taken in violation of law.
Santos and Taitano were to forfeit to the U.S. all wildlife taken or possessed in violation of the Endangered Species Act and its regulations and all firearms and other equipment used to aid the taking or possessing of wildlife in violation of the Endangered Species Act and its regulations.
The defendants were also to surrender a Mossberg .410 gauge shotgun with serial number P076708 and a Remington .410 gauge shotgun with serial number R129099H.
In last Wednesday’s arraignment, a scheduling conference and motions hearing in federal court, the court granted the defendant’s motion for a continuance of the jury trial.
The jury trial will start on Sept. 30, 2013. More....