Farmer who entered as tourist gets time served

A farmer, who ended up as a freelance illegal taxi driver on Saipan after he was allegedly recruited in China and entered the CNMI last year as a tourist, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to a charge of improper entry.

Jun Yang, 34, was arrested last week. He immediately signed a plea agreement with the U.S. government.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona sentenced Yang to a term of imprisonment of time served and ordered him to pay $10 in special assessment fee.

Yang was directed to report yesterday to the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement and Removal Operations Office.

Yang’s court-appointed counsel, Colin Thompson, had recommended a sentence of time served. Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe recommended the same. Both agreed not to recommend probation or supervised release.

Yang has claimed he lost his passport.

According to the information, on May 4, 2017, when asked by a Customs and Border Protection officer at the Francisco Ada/Saipan International Airport why he had come to the U.S., Yang lied that he had come for tourism purposes when, in fact, he had come to work.

Yang was caught by authorities during a routine traffic stop outside the Marina Heights II Building in Puerto Rico last Sept. 26.

Yang admitted to entering the CNMI as a tourist on May 4, 2017, with the intention of working on Saipan.

Yang allegedly paid a person named Brother Qiang in China 35,000 RMB or $5,000 on a promise of a job on Saipan.

Yang said Qiang accompanied him during his arrival on Saipan, but that Qiang never showed up at his hotel room.

He said he only had $200 cash when he landed on the island.

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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