2 of 3 in meth case plead not guilty; are released


Two of three suspects indicted in federal court have pleaded not guilty to the allegations that they conspired to possess over 50 grams of methamphetamine, with the intent to sell it.

At a hearing last Monday afternoon, Vince Koki Leon Guerrero and Evelyn Chon Tydingco pleaded not guilty to the indictment charging them with one count of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy accepted the not guilty plea and set the jury trial for Oct. 15, 2019.

Kennedy denied the U.S. government’s motion to detain the two pending trial and ordered the release of Leon Guerrero and Tydingco, with some conditions.

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

The prosecution and defense counsel Mark B. Hanson agreed to put off the initial appearance hearing of the third defendant, Elaine Francisco Demei, to between Aug. 19 and 23.

According to the indictment, the three conspired, along with other persons, to possess over 50 grams of methamphetamine between Feb. 15 and 21, 2018, with the intent to distribute.

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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