Thai restaurant manager pleads guilty in cocaine case

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Spicy Thai restaurant manager and executive assistant Jeane Bracken pleaded guilty Wednesday to the allegations against her involving the distribution of cocaine in the CNMI.

Bracken pleaded guilty before U.S District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a schedule II-controlled substance.

The maximum sentence for the charge is 20 years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $1 million, a maximum three-year term of supervised release, and a special $100 penalty assessment.

The court scheduled Bracken to return to court on April 14, 2021.

Both Bracken and her co-defendant, Robert Wallace, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to court documents, CNMI Customs Division personnel stationed at the U.S. Postal Service office came upon a suspicious parcel on Oct. 21. The parcel, a small, USPS “Priority Mail” box, was found to contain a clear zip-lock baggie labeled Walgreens containing a white, powdery substance, which was further contained inside a vacuum-sealed clear bag labeled FoodSaver, which was concealed within a black tank-top style shirt. CNMI Customs contacted U.S Drug Enforcement Administration for assistance. The substance was field tested and yielded positive results for the presence of cocaine and weighed at 4.2 grams. The active ingredient was removed and replaced with a “sham” that looked like cocaine.

The box was later issued to a mail service in Garapan. Upon contacting the manager of the mail service, investigators were provided with the application data for the private mailbox, which showed that the box was registered to a person with initials B.S who departed Saipan back in March but provided his key to a friend who was later identified as Suspect 1.

A controlled delivery was organized on Oct. 28 at around 2:06pm. Suspect 1 arrived at the mail services store to retrieve the box that contained the sham cocaine.

At 2:08pm, Suspect 1 left the store with investigators tailing him and he brought them to his apartment on Navy Hill.

When Suspect 1 exited his vehicle, investigators and DEA officers approached him and after identifying themselves, detained him and transported him to DEA office.

In an interview with Suspect 1, he admitted that he had a postal service box of his own but used his friend’s, B.S., mailbox to receive other items like marijuana that was ordered back in September for his “psychological issues.”

Suspect 1 later identified Bracken as the person who was ordering the items off of the “dark web” and he was using his friend’s mailbox because he didn’t want the items shipped under his name.

Suspect 1 initially told investigators that he thought there would be marijuana in the box and that he didn’t know the parcel contained cocaine and that he had nothing to do with it. However, after further investigation, he admitted that they were expecting cocaine in the parcel.

The suspect told investigators that Bracken ordered the drugs and determined who got what between the two of them and anyone else they might supply. After initial denial, he admitted he would typically get a portion of the shipment or a good price on the cocaine.

A consensual review of Suspect 1’s mobile device also showed incriminating messages between him and Bracken about the parcel and other drug shipments, including drug amounts, deliveries, and drug types.

Investigators instructed Suspect 1 to send Bracken a message to meet at Bracken’s work to deliver the parcel to her.

At 4:22pm, investigators observed Suspect 1 park next to Bracken’s work. At 4:23pm, Bracken approached Suspect 1’s vehicle and went to the driver’s side to retrieve the package. Investigators detained Bracken after the transfer was completed.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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