Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 25 May 2019 12am







    Saturday, May 25, 2019-9:43:46P.M.






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3 graduate from Drug Court

AFTER responding well to treatment, three participants of the CNMI Drug Court program were able to graduate early, Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio said.

They completed the 18-month program after just 13 months, she added.

Drug Court Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio presides over a graduation ceremony for three participants, Thursday. Also in photo: Georgia Cabrera, director of the Department of Corrections, and Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig. Photo by Bryan Manabat

The 2nd CNMI Drug Court graduation ceremony was held at the Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center on Thursday and was attended by Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro, Associate Justice Perry Inos, lawmakers and other stakeholders.

The three graduates — two men and one woman — requested anonymity.

Assistant Attorney General Chester Hinds formally made a motion to dismiss the charges against the three  which Judge Kim-Tenorio granted.

She said they are expecting another group of participants to graduate in August.

She added that they also had an awareness outreach on Rota and Tinian and accepted four referrals from both islands.

The program currently has 44 active participants.

According to Judge Kim-Tenorio, recovery begins with the participants themselves.

 “If they are not ready, it’s not going to happen,” she added. “You can treat anybody, but if they don’t want to be treated, it’s not going to work.”

The three who completed the program on Thursday were ready, and were willing to undergo treatment, and this is why they were able to graduate early, Judge Kim-Tenorio added.

Joaquin T. Sablan, a recovery mentor, was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony.

Caseworkers Dolores I. Benavente, Jaclyn T. Mendiola, and Grace S. Vaiagae, Marianas Behavioral Health International counselor, spoke of the accomplishments of the three graduates.

The female participant, who is 31 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of trafficking a controlled substance and two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance: crystal methamphetamine on Nov 3, 2016. She was accepted into the program on Dec. 22, 2016 and pled guilty to illegal possession. She is currently in college and pursuing a business-management course.

The two male graduates are 31 and 37 years old. They were arrested and charged on Jan. 10, 2017 for trafficking and illegal possession of a controlled substance. On April 27, 2017 both pled guilty to illegal possession of crystal meth and were accepted into the program.

The two are  “employed and pursuing other goals.”