NAHA, Okinawa — Two Americans received suspended prison sentences Wednesday in separate criminal cases in Naha District Court.

Lance Cpl. Michael Enriquez, 21, assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, Camp Foster, was sentenced to three years in prison for mugging a Japanese man in Okinawa City in May. The prison term was suspended for four years on condition of good behavior.

Tommy Gaskin Jr., 24, the husband of an Air Force servicemember and a former Marine Corps Community Services employee, received a suspended 30-month sentence for smuggling marijuana through the Japanese postal system.

Enriquez was arrested May 3, a day after he and Marine Pfc. Jake Boyer, of the same unit, attacked Tetsuya Tanaka, 19, of Okinawa City, on a street near Kadena Air Base’s Gate 2.

Both Marines pleaded guilty. Boyer’s trial was delayed because, at 19, he is considered a minor under Japanese law. His next hearing is set for Sept. 10.

During Wednesday’s session, Chief Judge Masashi Kurihara said it was clear Enriquez and Boyer conspired to assault Tanaka just after midnight without provocation, attacking him from behind. After knocking him to the ground, they kicked him in the head and back before stealing 500 yen, about $4, and a bandana worth about $8.

“There is no extenuating reason for the motive of attacking a defenseless, total stranger,” Kurihara said. “The nature of the crime was vicious, and the defendant’s criminal responsibility was great.

“However, he frankly confessed of his guilt and expressed his deep remorse and wrote a letter of apology to the victim and made a restitution.”

Last week, Enriquez made a $500 compensation payment to Tanaka through his attorney. That led prosecutor Tsuyoshi Satake to ask the court to reduce his prior recommendation for a prison term from five to four years.

After a recess, Gaskin was sentenced for conspiring to smuggle marijuana through the Japanese postal system.

Gaskin pleaded guilty last month to having 3.37 ounces of marijuana mailed to another former MCCS employee’s post office box in Okinawa City. The drug was concealed in a teddy bear and discovered by Japanese customs officials April 25 in Yokohama in a parcel shipped by sea.

“The scheme of concealing the marijuana in a stuffed animal and using the Japanese postal system to avoid being caught by the military authorities was very tricky,” Kurihara said.

He said the amount of the illegal substance was “great” and that Gaskin had “significant criminal responsibility for the crime.”

“However, the defendant is truly regretful and the court believes that he could rehabilitate himself,” Kurihara added. “With that expectation, the court suspends the sentence.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now