Defense: No clear allegation to charge man of drug trafficking

The court-appointed lawyer of Marco Castro, who is being charged with trafficking of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, says the case against her client should be dismissed as that there is no clear allegation against him.

During the bail hearing yesterday, Office of the Public Defender’s Jean Nogues moved for the court to dismiss the case against Castro, 29, without prejudice. She cited Commonwealth v. Inos that presiding judge Robert Naraja dismissed without prejudice due to an improper charging document.

Dismissed without prejudice means the case can be refiled by the government.

Castro is charged with possession and trafficking of methamphetamine or “ice.”

Nogues told the court that, after going through the declaration of probable cause, the document does not state clearly that Castro actually had drugs on him or whether he was selling them or no. As far as the document is concerned, Castro was just there.

Nogue said that the document merely states that during a “buy-walk” operation, Castro walked into a car and then walked out; there was no mention of an actual transaction.

Chester Hinds, representing the government, said that aside from the declaration of probable cause being signed by a judge, the document does indicate that Castro was involved in trafficking of a controlled substance but in a previous probable cause affidavit. Hinds said that this was a re-issuance of an arrest warrant based off of the same previous probable cause affidavit.

Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan said that although both parties made good arguments, he will still issue a bail order and set a preliminary hearing date for Castro.

Bogdan added that defense’s argument would be a good argument during the preliminary hearing.

Bogdan maintained the cash bail of $100,000 despite Nogues arguing that the amount is over the top and violates an affordable bail provision.

Bogdan said that the defense is welcome to file a motion for bail modification.

Castro’s preliminary hearing is set for March 20 at 9am and he is also set for an arraignment on April 8 at 9am.

Castro was arrested after a “buy-walk” operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Task Force in 2018.

Castro, along with his girlfriend Lynesia Palacios, were arrested for being allegedly involved in selling over $230 worth of methamphetamine to a cooperating source of the task force.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.
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