2 of 3 defendants plead guilty to ‘ice’ smuggling


The remaining two of three defendants indicted over the shipment of a package to a post office box that contained 110.03 grams of methamphetamine pleaded guilty in federal court last Tuesday.

At separate change of plea hearings, Vince Koki Leon Guerrero and Evelyn Chon Tydingco pleaded guilty to the indictment charging them with conspiracy to possess over 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $10 million.

Both defendants will be sentenced on Jan. 17, 2020 at 9am.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona allowed the two to remain at liberty until their sentencing, saying the U.S. Probation Office has reported that they’ve been compliant with the terms and conditions the court had previously set.

Steven P. Pixley and David Banes are the court-appointed counsel for Leon Guerrero and Tydingco, respectively. Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared for the U.S. government.

Last Sept. 25, a third defendant in the case, Elaine Francisco Demei, 26, pleaded guilty to the same offense. Demei’s sentencing will also be on Jan. 17, 2020.

Manglona also allowed Demei to remain free until her sentencing.

Mark B. Hanson is the court-appointed counsel for Demei.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreements, between Feb. 15 to 21, 2018 in the District of the NMI and elsewhere, Leon Guerrero conspired with Tydingco and Demei, along with others, to possess over 50 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it to others on Saipan.

As part of the agreement, a package containing methamphetamine was sent from California addressed to “Debbie Lee, at a post office box on Saipan.

The package arrived on Saipan on Feb. 21, 2018, and the three picked it up at the post office in San Vicente, each knowing the package contained methamphetamine.

The drug in the package had a net weight of 110.03 grams and an approximate purity level of 100%.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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