An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who was to be deported after serving an over five-year sentence for distributing methamphetamine but failed to board his flight from the U.S Mainland to China.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona granted the U.S. Office of Probation Office’s request to issue a warrant for the arrest of Chen Zhaopeng, a man who has served a 63-month prison sentence for his involvement in the shipment of 4.9 lbs of methamphetamine, or “ice,” to the CNMI back in 2015.
Chen, who received an Expedited Removal Order from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement but failed to depart the U.S. mainland as ordered, has yet to be brought before the court.
According to the U.S. Probation Office, Chen failed to board his deportation flight to China that was scheduled to depart from Los Angeles International Airport on Oct. 31, 2021, at 11:55pm.
As of Dec. 12, 2021, the New York U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Enforcement Removal Office has deemed Chen of “absconder” status, meaning he is now considered a fugitive who is running away or hiding to avoid arrest or prosecution.
Court documents state that Chen completed his term of imprisonment with the Bureau of Prisons on May 22, 2020. However, he remained in custody because of an immigration detainer and warrant of arrest lodged by U.S. ICE on June 26, 2018.
Then, on April 29, 2020, Chen was served with an Expedited Removal Order and was temporarily placed under the supervision of the New York ICE Enforcement and Removal Office pending his deportation to China.
Chen boarded a flight from LaGuardia Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on Oct. 30, 2021, with the final destination being Xiamen, China. However, he failed to board his connecting flight in Los Angeles.
Chen was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine following his trial back in September 2016.
Chen was sentenced to 63 months in prison with credit for 379 days of time served.