Drug Court graduate pleads guilty to ‘ice’ trafficking

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A former Superior Court Drug Court graduate who was arrested anew for allegedly selling methamphetamine or “ice” has pleaded guilty.

Skyler James Benavente, 32, pleaded guilty yesterday to trafficking of a controlled substance—a crime punishable by not more than 10 years imprisonment, along with a $5,000 fine.

Benavente’s lawyer, chief public defender Doug Hartig, asked that the court hold off on sentencing his client until a presentence investigation is conducted.

Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Naraja granted the request and gave three months for the presentence investigation.

Benavente will be sentenced on Sept. 3 at 9am.

Office of the Attorney General’s Chester Hinds represented the government.

According to court information, Benavente, 32, was arrested after a “buy-walk” sting operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Task Force on Jan. 31, 2019.

Court information states that a cooperating source had informed task force officers that Benavente was distributing ice.

Two days later, on Jan. 31, 2019, task force officers met with the cooperating source again for a sting operation to buy ice from Benavente.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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