28 Feb 2018
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
THE two men arrested on the charge of operating a meth lab on Saipan were brought to federal court on Tuesday for their initial appearance.
Vincent David Cabrera Jr., also known as Bong, and Eugene Blas Repeki, a.k.a. Uncle, were charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
The two, who were also charged in CNMI Superior Court for illegal possession of a controlled substance, are being detained at the Department of Corrections. Their bail was set at $50,000 cash.
On Tuesday, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe’s motion for a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum and ordered Corrections to bring the defendants to federal court.
Court-appointed counsels represented the defendants at the hearing: Benjamin Petersburg appeared for Cabrera while Steven Pixley appeared for Repeki.
During the hearing, the federal prosecutor made a motion to detain the defendants pending trial to assure their appearance in court. He noted that the charge against the defendants is punishable to 10 years of imprisonment or more.
Judge Manglona said she will make a ruling on the detention motion on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.
She also said that the defendants will appear in court unrestrained without shackles and cuffs unless there are compelling reasons to do so otherwise.
On Feb. 25, 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant on a hotel room and a Dandan residence after the authorities learned that some individuals were purchasing big doses of cold medicines that contained active pseudo-ephedrine.
These medicines are sold with a certain number limit and require an identification card, according to special DEA agent Kirk F. Johns.
Johns said when they checked the medicine purchases log file of a pharmacy, they learned that Cabrera had purchased medicine with active with pseudo-ephedrine on six occasions for a total of 14,242 mg of active pseudo-ephedrine from August 6, 2017 to Oct. 15, 2017.
Repeki, for his part, purchased a total of 5,940 mg of active pseudo-ephedrine on three occasions at the same pharmacy, Johns said.
On Monday, both defendants appeared for a bail hearing before Superior Court Judge Kenneth L. Govendo who imposed a $50,000 bail on Repeki and Cabrera for illegal possession of a controlled substance.
A defense counsel will be appointed for Repeki while Assistant Public Defender Nancy Dominski represented Cabrera. Assistant Attorney General Robert C. Lee appeared for the government.
Cabrera will return to local court on March 5 at 1:30 p.m. for a preliminary hearing while Repeki was ordered to return to the local court on March 6 at 1:30 p.m. for his preliminary hearing. Both defendants will be back in court on March 12 for their arraignment.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/102567-2-charged-with-conspiracy-to-manufacture-ice