Manglona accepts guilty plea of 3rd defendant in clandestine ‘ice’ lab case

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has accepted the guilty plea of the third of five men charged in connection with an alleged clandestine crystal methamphetamine or “ice” laboratory on Saipan.

In an order issued last Thursday, Manglona said neither party filed any objection to Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy’s recommendation to accept the guilty plea of defendant Vincent David Cabrera Jr.

Cabrera signed a plea deal with the U.S. government and pleaded guilty last Sept. 17 to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of not more than a 20-year term of imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $1 million, not less than a three-year term of supervised release, restitution, and a $100 special penalty assessment.

Under the plea deal, the U.S. government expects defendant’s sentencing guideline range to be 210 months and 240 months of imprisonment because the statutory maximum for the offense to which he pleaded guilty to is 20 years.

Kennedy found that there is a factual basis for the plea and that Cabrera’s guilty plea was entered voluntarily.

Kennedy recommended that Manglona accept the guilty plea.

In accepting the recommendation, Manglona referred Cabrera to the U.S. Probation Office for investigation and report.

Manglona set the sentencing for Dec. 28, 2018 at 9am.

The judge said the final presentence investigation report is due on Dec. 18, 2018.

According to Cabrera’s factual admissions, between on or July 1, 2017 and Feb. 25, 2018, he, along with Eugene Blas Repeki Jr., Rick Urumelog Omar Jr., Sidney Capelle Kani, and others, agree to manufacture methamphetamine.

Cabrera said he knew of this agreement to make “ice” and that he joined in the agreement knowing of its purpose and intending to help accomplish it.

Specifically, Cabrera said he, along with others, including Repeki, Omar, and Kani, obtained items such as pseudoephedrine, lithium batteries, cold packs, iodized salt, lye, lighter fluid, plastic water bottles, and/or coffee filters, to use to make methamphetamine.

He said they would smoke the manufactured methamphetamine, as well as sell and/or give to other people.

Between July 1, 2017, and Feb. 25, 2018, members of the conspiracy, or persons working at its behest, purchased pseudoephedrine from local pharmacies, which was eventually manufactured to actual methamphetamine.

Cabrera admitted that he maintained a room at the Vegas Resort Hotel for purposes of manufacturing or using “ice.”
Last month Repeki, also known as Uncle, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine.

Last May, David Muna Sablan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

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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