MCC International project manager Yuqing Zhao, through his counsel, entered yesterday in federal court a plea of not guilty to the indictment charging him harboring illegal aliens in connection with the alleged illegal Chinese workers at Pacific Imperial International CNMI LLC’s ongoing construction of the casino and resort in Garapan.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy set the jury trial for June 27, 2017 at 10am.
Kennedy advised Zhao to abide by the terms and conditions of his pre-trial release previously set by Chif Judge Ramona V. Manglona.
Kennedy also advised the defendant of his constitutional rights.
Zhao and his third-party custodian, former lawmaker Christopher Leon Guerrero, acknowledged their understanding.
Zhao appeared out of custody with counsel, Charles Reyes. Reyes appeared on behalf of private counsel, Colin Thompson, who is off-island.
Assistant U.S. attorney Eric O’Malley, counsel for the U.S. government, read the charge in the indictment upon Reyes’s request.
According to the indictment, beginning on Aug. 1, 2016, and continuing until March 31, 2017, Zhao harbored 15 illegal aliens by shielding them from detection for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.
A separate indictment charged Beilida Overseas president Hui Lu and Beilida’s Wencao Guo, Xiufang Qi, and Hongwei Ma with harboring illegal aliens. (Ferdie de la Torre)