Judge Orders Bond Set For Defendants In Smuggling Case
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A federal judge has ordered bond set for five people indicted in an alleged ring that sold stolen F-14 Tomcat fighter parts to Iran.
U.S. District Court Judge Leland C. Nielsen said a sixth defendant, who prosecutors say was the ringleader, should remain in custody without bond because he is an illegal alien from the Philippines.
Nielsen directed U.S. Magistrate Roger Curtis McKee Tuesday to set bond for the others, but specified no amount. He said the five must surrender their passports and report daily to a court officer.
Nielsen has cleared the way for the release of Julie Agustin, 46; Pedro M. Quito, 60; Edgardo Agustin, 45; Primitivo Cayabyab, 36; and Antonio Rodriguez, 37. The five have been held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center here since their arrests in July.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip L. Halpern said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be asked to prevent the release of any of the defendants pending the filing of a written appeal.
In arguing against setting bond, prosecutors told Nielsen all have connections in the Philippines and might flee there if given the opportunity.
Franklin Agustin, 48, was the only defendant who Nielsen said should not be allowed to post bond. The San Diego businessman is the husband of Julie Agustin and the brother of Edgardo Agustin.
Also indicted on conspiracy charges in the alleged smuggling of more than $3 million in military equipment is Saeid Asefi Inanlou, a 36-year-old businessman arrested by British authorities in July. He has been freed on $150,000 bail.