The U.S. government sought yesterday the continued detention of two men who allegedly ran a clandestine meth lab on Saipan.
Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe said the U.S. District Court for the NMI should detain Vincent David Cabrera Jr. and Eugene Blas Repeki because no condition of release will ensure the safety of the community.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona set the detention hearing for Friday at 8:30am and the preliminary examination on March 12 at 1:30pm.
Benjamin Petersburg appeared on behalf of Mark B. Hanson, who is the court-appointed counsel for the 39-year-old Cabrera, an ex-convict.
Steven Pixley served as court-appointed counsel for the 39-year-old Repeki, a poker arcade security guard.
The complaint charged Cabrera and Repeki with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine or “ice.” They are right now detained at the Department of Corrections in Susupe.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force and Customs officers arrested Cabrera and Repeki on Sunday and searched their alleged laboratories in a room at the Saipan Vegas Resort and Repeki’s house in Dandan.
The defendants were taken before the Superior Court on Monday on charges of illegal possession of a controlled substance arising from the same alleged laboratory operations. Judge Kenneth L. Govendo imposed a $50,000 cash bail each on Cabrera and Repeki and set the preliminary hearing for March 5 at 1:30pm.
The U.S. Marshals served the two with arrest warrants yesterday in connection with separate charges filed in federal court.
According to DEA special agent Kirk F. Johns, their investigation began last Oct. 15 when a pharmacy employee tipped him to the purchasing patterns of some people of cold medicine containing pseudo-ephedrine.
Johns said he also received a call from a tipster last Oct. 16 that people led by Cabrera were cooking “ice” on Saipan by using the “shake and bake” method.
Investigators said that Cabrera and Repeki both claimed purchasing over-the-counter cold medicine because they have sinus problems.