Drug Boss Melvin Naputi Sentenced to 360 Months Federal Prison for Trafficking Methamphetamine and Felon in Possession of a Firearm
for Immediate Release, U.S. Attorney's Office, Districts of Guam & the Northern Mariana Islands, Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant Melvin John Salas Naputi, age 51, from Guam, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. Naputi was charged and convicted of Attempted Possession with Intent to Deliver Fifty or More Grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1). The Court also ordered 10 years of supervised release following imprisonment and a mandatory $200 special assessment fee. In addition, defendants convicted of a federal drug offense may no longer qualify for certain federal benefits.
On August 8, 2018, U.S. Marshals executed a federal arrest warrant for Naputi at a hotel room in Tumon, Guam. A female accompanied Naputi at the room. She was present as officers conducted a safety sweep, during which drug paraphernalia was found in plain sight. The female admitted that there were illegal drugs and a firearm in the hotel room and consented to a more thorough search. Law enforcement found 15 grams of methamphetamine in an ice bucket, 4.59 grams of methamphetamine in a pouch, cocaine, drug packaging material, drug paraphernalia, firearms, and ammunition as well as $7,405 in drug proceeds.
On April 4, 2021, U.S. Postal Inspection Services (USPIS) intercepted a package addressed to “Tina Lay,” which contained 926 grams of methamphetamine with a purity level of 100%. USPIS replaced the drugs with a sham substance and coordinated with task force officers for the delivery of the package to the addressed recipient. The package was delivered to a mailbox and then picked up by a male riding a motorcycle. It was tracked to a residence located in Mangilao, Guam. Task force officers entered the home once package was opened. Naputi climbed out of a window and ran away leaving behind his backpack, cell phones, the package, and the vehicle. His backpack was found to contain $24,075 in cash, plastic baggies, three scales, calibration weights, and 821 grams of methamphetamine. Two plastic bags on the front seat of the vehicle contained $71,000 in cash.
Naputi was arrested in July 2023. He was found in possession of 3,442 grams of methamphetamine (roughly 7 ½ pounds) and $219,144 in cash, amounting to the illegal proceeds of drug distribution. Law enforcement also seized vehicles, electronics, jewelry, and other miscellaneous items.
“Naputi was a serious threat to public safety in Guam,” stated United States Attorney Anderson. “The outstanding work of our federal partners and Guam agencies brought this defendant to justice. We will continue to focus federal resources to combat drug trafficking and firearm violations in an effort to protect our communities.”
“Organized trafficking of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs contributes to the unacceptable level of violence in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Those who persist in engaging in dangerous criminal conduct despite determined efforts to dissuade them will be held accountable,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge John F. Tobon. “Dismantling drug trafficking organizations and taking guns out of the hands criminals, is a critical part of our fight to reduce violent crime in our communities.”
“Following the issuance of a warrant of arrest, a comprehensive law enforcement effort was undertaken to locate and capture this fugitive. During the fugitive investigation, credible information surfaced concerning this fugitive’s continuing criminal activity,” said Deputy U.S. Marshal, Pedro Patrick Cortez. “The United States Marshals Service is committed to capturing fugitives, disabling their criminal activity and keeping our community safe.”
“Melvin Naputi was a fugitive for years and a drug dealer known for violence for years, if not decades,” said Resident Agent in Charge Kenneth L. Bowman. “It’s good that he will be off the streets of Guam for a long time.”
“Drugs and firearms make a very deadly combination to the safety of our communities,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan E. Blais. “ATF will not stop in our mission of investigating those involved in actions such as these. This sentence sends a strong message to Mr. Salas that this behavior will not be tolerated.”
“The FBI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to remove dangerous criminals who destroy and harm lives in our neighborhoods in Guam,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “Justice was served today as Naputi was sentenced for distribution of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of firearms.”
“Postal inspectors are committed to keeping dangerous weapons and controlled substances like methamphetamine out of the mail and off the street in Guam and across the United States, " said San Francisco Division Inspector-in-Charge Rafael Nuñez. "I would like to thank our law enforcement partners at the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, the Guam Police Department, and the federal government for sharing this responsibility with us.”
This case was a joint investigation conducted by United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration Los Angeles Field Division – Guam Office, Department of Homeland Security, United States Postal Inspection Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Guam Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Rosetta L. San Nicolas, Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Guam.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.