Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am







    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-6:01:12A.M.






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Overstaying tourist released to third-party custodian

CHUNXIAO Chen, an overstaying tourist charged with using a fake CNMI driver’s license, was released to a third-party custodian upon posting an unsecured bond in the amount of $2,500.

Chen was released to the owner of Mary’s Beauty Salon, Feng Ying Ma Mustion.

At the detention hearing in federal court on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe said Chen should be detained pending trial, adding that the defendant is a flight risk.

Chen’s attorney, Steven Pixley, said she should be released to a third-party custodian.

After hearing from the parties, District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy denied the U.S. government’s motion for detention.

She also ordered Chen to submit to the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office and not to leave Saipan without written permission from the court.

In addition. Chen cannot leave the third-party custodian’s residence without permission from the court or the U.S. Probation Office.

During the hearing, Chen was provided an interpreter, Hua Yang.

According to the partially sealed criminal complaint filed in federal court, Chen was cited by a task force officer for driving with an expired Saipan driver’s license on May 2, 2019. The officer also questioned the passenger of the vehicle who claimed that Chen was a taxi driver.

Chen’s driver’s license was confiscated and she was “requested” to report to the Homeland Security Investigations office at the Marina Heights II Business Plaza to verify her immigration status.

At the HSI office, and through a Mandarin interpreter, HSI personnel learned that Chen was granted CNMI-only conditional parole by Customs and Border Protection on Oct. 23, 2013 until Oct. 30, 2013.

Chen was then “administratively arrested” for violating U.S. immigration law.

She was told that she was not legally allowed to drive on Saipan and was ineligible to obtain a driver’s license because she did not have valid immigration status.

Chen stated that she understood, and agreed to return to the HSI office. She was then released from HSI custody.

On May 16, 2019, the same task force officer saw Chen driving a red Toyota sedan. After she pulled over, the officer asked her why she was driving. He said Chen presented a driver’s license which, after a check with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, was found to be “fictitious.”

Chen was ordered to return to court on May 31, 2019 at 9 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.