Ex-convict found using opiates, playing poker

An ex-convict whose probation was revoked several times due to continued use of illegal drugs allegedly tested positive for opiates and was found gambling at a poker arcade, in violation of his probation conditions.

U.S. Probation Officer Gregory F. Arriola informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI yesterday that Steven Faisao Abal tested positive for the use of opiates on Feb. 15, 2015, and that he also admitted entering a poker arcade to gamble.

Arriola asked the court to revoke Abal’s probation.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona summoned Abal to appear in court and explain why his probation should not be revoked.

Arriola said that, when confronted about the positive results for use of opiates during drug testing, Abal denied using any illegal drugs and that he only had taken Tylenol due to flu-like symptoms.

Arriola said that last Feb. 25, he received information that Abal was playing video poker in Garapan.

Arriola said that, when confronted about the matter the following day, Abal admitted playing poker.

The probation officer reminded him that he was prohibited from accessing poker machines or any form of gambling devices.

Abal was sentenced in October 2005 to 20 months in prison and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine or “ice.”

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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