Judge finds charges against alleged ‘ice’ trafficker to be multiplicitous


Three of the eight charges filed against a woman suspected as a distributor of methamphetamine or “ice” have been found multiplicitous.

In Biyu Hu’s case, Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley M. Bogdan found that three counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance are multiplicitous as to three counts of trafficking of a controlled substance, at least in part because defendant could not sell the methamphetamine during the controlled-buys to the CNMI government’s confidential informant without being in actual possession of “ice.”

Bogdan, however, emphasized that the same conclusion cannot be made for the 7th and 8th counts charging Yu with trafficking of a controlled substance and illegal possession of a controlled substance because they relate to a separate search of Hu’s residence and were not the result of her direct effort to sell “ice” to an informant.

“The underlying facts and circumstances of that search are more legally equivocal, especially given the amount of methamphetamine allegedly discovered,” said Bogdan in granting Hu’s motion to consolidate the multiplicitous charges.

Assistant public defender Nancy Dominski is counsel for Hu. Assistant attorney general Chester Hinds argued as counsel for the government at the hearing.

Bogdan ordered the government to amend the information, electing between three counts of trafficking or three counts of illegal possession.

With respect to the 7th and 8th counts charging Hu with trafficking and illegal possession, Bogdan said a violation of Hu’s constitutional rights is not likely to occur if the jury is informed at trial that the Commonwealth charged her with both possession and trafficking of a controlled substance for the “ice” allegedly discovered at her home.

Instead, the judge noted, this search stands alone and distinct from the controlled buys and could conceivably—depending on the amount of methamphetamine proven to exist at trial—result in either simple possession conviction or result in a trafficking conviction under the rebuttal presumption of trafficking option created in a statute.

The CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested Hu in Dandan in May 2017 for allegedly selling and yielding 100 grams of “ice” worth $40,000 to $50,000 during “buy-walk operations” on Saipan.

Hu, 36, a female but known as Brother, pleaded not guilty.

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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