Man in ‘ice’ lab case had 30-year sentence for murder but was paroled
The murder conviction of one of four men arrested in connection with the alleged operation of a clandestine methamphetamine lab on Saipan has surfaced.
It was learned at a detention hearing at the U.S. District Court for the NMI last Tuesday that Eugene Blas Repeki was convicted in 2000 of murder in the second degree in connection with the fatal beating of a security guard in Chalan Kanoa in 1999.
In 2001, then-Superior Court associate judge Timothy H. Bellas slapped Repeki with a 30-year prison term. Yet the CNMI Board of Parole granted Repeki’s request for parole in March 2010, according to assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe.
The Office of the Attorney General had stated in 2001 that, of the three suspects, it was Repeki who delivered the death blow, leading to the death of Cesario B. Valerio, who was employed then as a security guard at Courtney’s Plaza, a commercial building in Chalan Kanoa.
At the detention hearing, Backe presented evidence to support the U.S. government’s motion for the continued detention of Repeki, Vincent D. Cabrera Jr., Sidney C. Kani, and Rick U. Omar Jr.
It was only Kani, represented by court-appointed counsel Colin Thompson, who did not contest his continued detention.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the U.S. government’s motion for the continued detention of Repeki, Cabrera, and Kani.
Manglona said there was a strong showing in regards to the danger that Repeki, Cabrera, and Kani pose to the community.
With respect to Omar, the judge said she was inclined to grant the U.S. government’s motion for continued detention.
Manglona, however, said she would give Omar the opportunity of at least considering his proposed third-party custodians.
Manglona continued the detention hearing for Omar to tomorrow, Friday, at 1:30pm, to allow the U.S. Probation Office time to report on the defendant’s proposed two third-party custodians—his aunt and girlfriend.
The preliminary hearings for the four will be on Monday, March 12, at 1:30pm.
Cabrera Jr. and Repeki were charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Kani and Omar were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force and Customs officers arrested the four and searched the alleged clandestine “ice” laboratory in a hotel room and at a Dandan home last Feb. 25.