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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Continued detention OK’d for suspected drug pusher

The federal court has ordered the continued detention of Yuan Rong Zhao, a 41-year-old man who was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Friday for allegedly distributing methamphetamine or “ice” on Saipan.

At a detention hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona found probable cause to believe that Zhao has committed an offense for which a maximum prison term of 10 years or more is prescribed.

Manglona also determined that Zhao is a flight risk.

The judge noted that Zhao, a Chinese national, has no ties to the community, has no work or family in the CNMI, and does not have any other interest in remaining in the Commonwealth.

Assistant U.S. attorney Rami Badawy’s asked for Zhao’s continued detention pending future proceedings.

Court-appointed defense counsel Michael Dotts opposed Badawy’s motion.

Preliminary hearing will be on Jan. 16. Zhao was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

DEA agents arrested Zhao after the DEA filed a criminal complaint charging him with one count of distribution of methamphetamine.

A DEA special agent stated in an affidavit that a confidential source managed to buy $400 worth of “ice” from Zhao outside the latter’s home in San Antonio on March 6, 2012.

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