OAG opposes demand for 2nd preliminary hearing

The Office of the Attorney General is opposing the demand of a suspected methamphetamine trafficker for a second preliminary hearing.

Assistant attorney general Jonathan L. Wilberscheid said that Ehrl Mirano is not entitled to a second preliminary hearing.

Even if he were so entitled, no benefit would result from holding a preliminary hearing. “It would serve no legitimate purpose and would result in nothing but a waste of resources,” Wilberscheid said.

He asked the Superior Court to deny Mirano’s motion and arraign him on the additional charges of the amended information.

Last Oct. 23, the OAG filed an information charging the 40-year-old Mirano with trafficking and illegal possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance over a search of his house last Oct. 13.

At the preliminary hearing last Oct. 23, the Superior Court found probable cause to charge him with three counts.

Last Nov. 9, the OAG filed an amended information charging him with the same three charges plus trafficking and illegal possession of a controlled substance over an incident last Oct. 12.

Chief public defender Douglas Hartig, counsel for Mirano, opposed the government’s amended information and asked the court to strike the two additional charges.

CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force officers arrested Mirano in Koblerville last Oct. 13 on charges of trafficking and possession of controlled substance. A $100,000 cash bail was imposed on him.

DETF said their “cooperating source” disclosed last Oct. 9 about the drug distribution activities of Mirano within Koblerville.

A cooperating source managed to purchase $200 worth of “ice” from Mirano during a “buy-walk” operation at his house in Koblerville.

In July 2012, a federal jury found Mirano guilty for his role in a conspiracy to forge stale CNMI tax refund checks and cash them in grocery stores. Federal documents identified him as Earl Eric Mirano.

The District Court sentenced him in November 2012 to 142 days in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

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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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