Former Maui corrections officer arrested in Yap for sexual assault

James Siugpiyemal
James Siugpiyemal

U.S. Marshals arrested 43 year-old James Siugpiyemal of Maui, a former Maui Community Correctional Center state corrections officer, Saturday on the island of Yap.

He was wanted by Maui police and the Maui Prosecutor’s pursuant to an arrest warrant for five counts of sexual assault against a state female inmate who was in custody at the time.

U.S. Marshals tracked Siugpiyemal to Yap, located within the Federated States of Micronesia. Siugpiyemal fled to the island of Yap after leaving Maui while on the run from authorities. Although Siugpiyemal lived and worked in Maui for several years, he remained a Micronesian citizen and was not a U.S. citizen.

On or about July 31, 2014 to August 11, 2014, Siugpiyemal, while employed as a state corrections officer on Maui, forced a female inmate who was under his control to engage in sexual intercourse and sexual contact in violation of sections contained within the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

On October 24, 2014, a Maui County grand jury returned an indictment charging Siugpiyemal and an arrest warrant was issued for Siugpiyemal, charging him with three counts of sexual assault in the second degree and two counts of sexual assault in the third degree. Bail for the warrant was set at $500,000.

By the time the arrest warrant was issued, however, Siugpiyemal had already fled the state and was declared a fugitive on the run.

Maui police and the U.S. Marshals immediately began a joint investigation to track down and arrest Siugpiyemal. U.S. Marshals determined that he had fled Maui for Guam on October 9, 2014; then traveled from Guam to Yap, Micronesia on October 11, 2014 where he went into hiding.

Investigators also discovered that after fleeing Maui, Siugpiyemal made phone calls to family and friends in Maui to tell them goodbye and that he had no intentions of returning to Maui or the United States.

For approximately two years, from November 2014 to September 2016, U.S. Marshals, Maui police, the Maui Prosecutor’s office, and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs worked with the Micronesian government to have Siugpiyemal arrested and extradited back to the United States to face the charges against him in Maui.

siugpiyemal-02

Then on September 20, 2016, Yap authorities detained Siugpiyemal based on the United States request and brought him before a Yap court to face extradition hearings. He voluntarily waived his right to contest extradition back to the United States and was held in confinement until U.S. Marshals could travel to Yap and secure his return to the U.S.

On November 05, 2016, U.S. Marshals arrested Siugpiyemal on the island of Yap and extradited him back to the United States. He arrived in Hawaii over the weekend and was turned over to Maui police for processing and further prosecution.

According to the Micronesian newspaper The Kaselehlie Press, Siugpiyemal is the first FSM citizen to be extradited to the United States since 2005.

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