Drug Court participant gets 5 years in prison


A man who arranged for the delivery of 208 gross grams of methamphetamine while participating in the CNMI Drug Court Program was slapped with a five-year prison term.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo sentenced Ronnie M. San Nicolas yesterday to 12 years in prison, all suspended except for five years, for trafficking of a controlled substance.

San Nicolas was given credit for 408 days of jail time served. After completing his prison term, he will be placed on supervised probation for seven years.

He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine while on probation and required to perform 200 hours of community service. He will also undergo antidrug counseling.

For violating the terms and conditions of Drug Court Program in his 2017 case in which he was charged with drug trafficking, but was amended to drug possession, San Nicolas was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of supervised probation.

The imprisonment and probation sentences in both cases shall run concurrently. That means the total prison term is five years and probation is seven years.

Govendo said a review of the facts and circumstances of this case show that San Nicolas warrants imprisonment

Govendo said that in a span of 14 months, San Nicolas was arrested twice for trafficking a controlled substance.

San Nicolas participated in the CNMI Drug Court from March 8, 2018 until his arrest on Dec. 21, 2018.

While participating in the CNMI Drug Court program, San Nicolas arranged for the delivery of 208 gross grams of methamphetamine and, although he appears to have complied with the rules and tested negative, his conduct outside the Drug Court reflected the actions of an unchanged person, Govendo said.

He said that San Nicolas disappointed him and his fellow Drug Court participants.

San Nicolas also voiced disappointment in himself and a deep regret for the way his actions affected his family, friends, and those involved in the Drug Court. He admitted that he is a drug addict and that he is solely responsible for his actions. He said he now wants to move forward and become a better person for his family and, more importantly, to his 7-month-old daughter.

San Nicolas signed a plea deal with the government to resolve the two cases. He pleaded guilty to trafficking of a controlled substance.

San Nicolas was first arrested on Oct. 13, 2017 for trafficking of a controlled substance when he sold .5 gross grams of “ice” worth $200. The charge was amended to illegal possession of a controlled substance to allow him entry into the CNMI Drug Court.

San Nicolas was arrested again after CNMI Customs intercepted a tampered coffee-container containing 208 gross grams of “ice” sent to San Nicolas via mail from San Antonio, Texas, in December 2018.

Assistant attorney general Chester Hinds said this was the largest amount of any methamphetamine bust made by the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force.

And, although San Nicolas was testing negative and complying with Drug Court rules, Hinds said he was also organizing the delivery of a package containing 208 gross grams of methamphetamine.

“This shows that the defendant was in the business of selling drugs,” the prosecutor pointed out.

He recommended a sentence of 15 years imprisonment, with three years suspended, 12 years to serve, and a 10-year probation.

Assistant public defender Heather M. Zona, counsel for San Nicolas, recommended eight years in prison, all suspended except for three years.

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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