Drug defendant gets 51-month prison sentence


One of three men behind the shipment of what is considered the second biggest “ice” haul in the Commonwealth was slapped yesterday with a prison sentence of four years and three months or 51 months in all.

Shicheng Cai was given credit for time served. He has been in jail since his arrest on Dec. 4, 2015. Upon his release from prison, Cai will be placed on three years of supervised release.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona also directed his immediate deportation from the CNMI upon completing his prison term.

Cai will be required to perform 50 hours of community service and pay a $100 court assessment fee.

After the sentencing, Cai was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.

Attorney Mark Hanson is the court-appointed counsel for Cai. Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared for the U.S. government.

Cai pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine as part of a plea deal.

Cai testified for the U.S. government during the jury trial of his co-defendant, Zhaopeng Chen, last September.

Cai testified how he and co-defendant Xi Huang shipped from China to Saipan 4.9 lbs. of methamphetamine or “ice”—in 2015 worth $850,000—that they concealed in one of nine paint buckets and about Chen’s role in picking up the shipment.

Cai, however, agreed with Chen’s counsel, David G. Banes, that he is not sure that Chen knew about the drug deal between Cai and Huang. Chen was subsequently found guilty. He has yet to be sentenced.

Huang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute “ice.” He also testified at Chen’s trial. Last August, the court slapped Huang, who was tagged as the leader of the group, with 188 months or 15 years and eight months of imprisonment.

According to the indictment, Huang, Cai, and Chen conspired between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4, 2015, to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

A routine Customs inspection at the Port of Saipan of a 40-container from Guangzhou, China, resulted in the discovery of the 4.9 lbs. of “ice” hidden in three plastic bags in one of the nine 5-gallon paint containers last Dec. 2.

Joint federal and local enforcers investigated the shipment, resulting in the arrest of three.

The July 2015 arrest of Zhenlin Fang and Yuliu Liu and the seizure and detection of over 10,700 grams of “ice” then-worth about $4.3 million is reportedly the biggest drug haul in Commonwealth history.

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

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