Man pleads guilty to ‘ice’ possession


An ex-convict arrested by the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force in August for allegedly selling methamphetamine or “ice” on Saipan pleaded guilty yesterday to illegal possession of a controlled substance.

John Richard Palacios Deleon Guerrero will be sentenced on May 17, 2017 at 9am. He asked for a presentence investigation report.

His jury trial on Jan. 30, 2017, was vacated and he was remanded into the custody of the Department of Corrections.

Last Aug. 30, the Office of the Attorney General charged Deleon Guerrero with two counts of trafficking of a controlled substance, two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to commit trafficking of a controlled substance, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition. The charges carry a total maximum sentence of 100 years.

On Tuesday, the OAG amended the charges to only a count of illegal possession of a controlled substance. All other charges were dropped. If convicted of this one charge, Deleon Guerrero faces a possible prison sentence of five years only.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho said it is the OAG that decides what charges to file and the court can only hear the case.

The judge noted that Deleon Guerrero has prior criminal convictions in four cases charging him with attempts, assault with a dangerous weapon, burglary, and possession of a controlled substance.

In his latest case, Deleon Guerrero, 40, also known as Massi and or Penny, was found in possession of .70 gross grams of crystal methamphetamine.

A “confidential source” told police that John Massi, later identified as Deleon Guerrero, has been selling “ice” on Saipan. The “source” claimed that he/she had previously managed to buy $120 worth of “ice” from Deleon Guerrero.

During a buy-operation, the “confidential source” managed to buy .70 gross grams of “ice” worth $120 from Deleon Guerrero outside his residence in Lower Miha in Garapan last Aug. 18. It was Deleon Guerrero’s alleged drug associate who handed the “ice” to the “confidential source.”

In May 2015, Deleon Guerrero pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a controlled substance and was slapped with a one-year prison term. In that case he reportedly engaged police officers in a car chase and threw away a small bag containing “ice.”

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

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