Man arrested on two counts of ‘ice’ trafficking

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A man was arrested on two counts of trafficking of a controlled substance and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Mark Anthony S. Benavente, 38, through his lawyer, Chief Public Defender Doug Hartig, waived Tuesday his right to a preliminary hearing on two charges of trafficking the controlled substance methamphetamine or ‘ice’.

A preliminary hearing is a proceeding after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial.

Benavente was arrested following two sting operations by the Drug Enforcement Task Force.

According to the declaration of probable cause, the charges against Benavente are backed by recorded phone conversations and identification by a cooperating source.

The declaration of probable cause states that on Jan. 11, 2018, and Jan. 18, 2018, Benavente was caught, through the task force’s cooperating source, distributing “ice” In Chalan Kanoa.

On Jan. 11, 2018, at about 11:35am, task force officers monitored a phone conversation between the cooperating source and Benavente.

In that conversation, Benavente and the cooperating source agreed to meet at the Shany Laundry and Poker in Chalan Kanoa to make the transaction.

Although Benavente was hesitant on the phone to sell “ice” to the cooperating source, Benavente still went through with the transaction.

Task force officers later showed the cooperating source a picture of Benavente and the source confirmed that the man in the picture was the man he met at the Shany Laundry and Poker.

Task force officers tested the crystalline substance procured from the cooperating source for methamphetamine and the results turned up positive.

The second “buy-walk” operation was on Jan. 18, 2018, at the Shany Laundry and Poker at around 2:19pm.

In May 2015, Benavente was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to burglarizing and stealing money and an iPad from the Pena House Boutique in Chalan Kanoa.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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