Woman awaiting sentencing tests positive for ‘ice’ use


A woman who is awaiting sentencing for conspiring with others to possess a chemical that would be used to make the illegal drug crystal meth has tested positive for using “ice.”

Joanne Marie Deleon Guerrero Castro was summoned to appear yesterday afternoon for a hearing before the U.S. District Court for the NMI to determine whether or not her release should he revoked or modified.

According to U.S. Probation officer Gregory F. Arriola, Castro first denied then later admitted that she used “ice” when confronted with the laboratory test results.

Arriola said the defendant tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine during a drug test at the U.S. Probation Office last July 11. When confronted with the test results, Castro denied using any illicit substances, Arriola said, adding that the laboratory test results report later showed a positive result for methamphetamine.

Last July 22, Castro reported to the U.S. Probation Office for a noncompliance meeting and was confronted with the laboratory report.

Initially, Arriola said, the defendant was not forthcoming about the circumstances regarding her illicit drug use. He said Castro later admitted that a friend stopped by her apartment and began smoking “ice” in front of her. Castro allegedly stated she was tempted and eventually smoked “ice.”

Arriola said the defendant further admitted that she became fearful of getting in trouble and attempted to dilute her urine before being subjected to the July 11 drug test.

Arriola said Castro also voluntarily admitted that she had consumed a medicine last July 3 because she was experiencing back pain.

The probation officer said the defendant stated she was unaware that she needed a prescription for that medicine until he made note of it in a previous conversation.

Except for the positive drug test, Castro is generally compliant with conditions of her release, Arriola said. He said the defendant remains in substance abuse treatment and testing, and submits her pretrial supervision reports in a timely manner.

Last April 25, an indictment was filed against Castro.

At the April 26 hearing, Castro was released with conditions to include that she be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office and Pretrial Services Office and be placed on home detention with no electronic monitoring.

Among the conditions is that the defendant must not use or possess a narcotic drug or other controlled substances. She must also submit to drug testing if required by the Pretrial Services Office or supervising officer.

At a change of plea hearing last June 20, Castro pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine, a listed chemical, knowing that it would be used to make methamphetamine through the so-called shake- and-bake method

The offense carries a maximum penalty of not more than 20 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $1 million.

The sentencing guideline range is between 97 to 121 months of imprisonment.

Castro’s sentencing is currently set for Nov. 15, 2019. Robert Torres is her court-appointed counsel.

According to the factual admissions of Castro, between Aug. 12, 2017 and Jan. 25, 2018, she, along with others, agreed to possess pseudoephedrine, a listed chemical, knowing it would be used to make methamphetamine or “ice.”

Castro said, in those periods, she purchased pseudoephedrine 14 times from pharmacies on Saipan for a total of 36,600 milligrams.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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