Koror, Palau-- In the middle of jury selection Wednesay, DHL heir Larry Imeong Hillbroom decided plead guilty in connection with his drug trafficking arrests in 2016 and 2017.
The Palau Supreme Court dismissed the charges against Hillbroom after he pleaded no contest to Conspiracy To Traffic A Controlled Substance –Methamphetamine.
At least 200 jury summons were sent last week, calling on prospective jurors to appear in court. At least 175 out of summoned potential jurors appeared in the court Monday morning for the highly publicized trial.
From the pool of 175, the court had hoped to select six jurors to serve in the trial.
However Hillbroom’s guilty plea halted any trial.
Associate Justice Lourdes Materne sentenced Hillbroom to 10 years of supervised probation, to be reduced to seven years supervised probation should he complete an inpatient rehabilitation program.
Hillbroom will serve five years jail time, commencing on September 25, 2018if he fails to complete an inpatient rehabilitation program.
Hillbroom was also ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 to be deducted from the bond he posted.
The inpatient rehabilitation program should be a minimum of six-months in length and should be pre-approved by the Attorney General’s Office and the Probation office.
A monthly progress report of the program is also required.
Prior to September 25, Hillbroom will be subjected to drug testing Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at his expense. A positive test will result in immediate incarceration. The court said that even a missed test, failure to produce a sample or an adulterated sample shall be treated as positive drug test.
The first drug test will be on July 2, 2018.
Hillbroom is also allowed to travel before September 25 to seek rehabilitation outside of Palau but he must be accompanied by two police officers at all times and pay for their travel costs.
Hillbroom was facing a sentence of 25-50 years in jail if the trial had commenced and produced a conviction.
Hillbroom was also arrested and charged in 2017 for alleged methamphetamine trafficking and possession.
Hillbroom is a son of DHL founder Larry Hillblom although their surnames are spelled differently.
According to court documents, in the 2016 case against Hillbroom, two women who were arrested with the drugs following a flight from Manila to Palau claimed that the suspect “offered to pay them when they arrived in Palau.”
The documents alleged Hillbroom paid for the women’s airline tickets and they recorded a phone call to him in which he acknowledged his role in the plan.
In October 2017, drug enforcement operatives again arrested Hillbroom, this time in Peleliu, after a buy-bust operation.