U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona found probable cause yesterday to charge three of the four men arrested in connection with authorities’ crackdown against an alleged clandestine methamphetamine lab on Saipan.
At a preliminary hearing, Manglona determined that the U.S. government has provided sufficient evidence for probable cause to file conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine charges against Vincent David Cabrera Jr. and Eugene Blas Repeki and the charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine against Rick U. Omar Jr.
The U.S. government called to the witness stand CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force officer Dee Liza Udui, who testified about the circumstances that led to the arrest of the four suspects.
The fourth defendant, Sidney Capelle Kani, waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Colin Thompson is the court-appointed counsel for Kani, who is being charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
At the continuation yesterday of Omar’s detention hearing, Manglona granted assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe’s motion for Omar’s continued detention pending trial.
This developed as Manglona raised some concerns over the suitability of Omar’s proposed third-party custodian.
The proposed third-party custodian’s boyfriend has been implicated in the case, according to the prosecution.
The court earlier ordered the continued detention pending trial of Cabrera, Repeki, and Kani.
Manglona ordered the four defendants to appear at the status conference on March 28 at 1:30pm.
No arraignment has been set as the four defendants are being charged in a complaint. As of yesterday afternoon, no indictment has been filed against them.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force and Customs officers arrested the four and searched the clandestine “ice” laboratory in a hotel room and at a Dandan home last Feb. 25.