Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 18 Sep 2019 12am







    Tuesday, September 17, 2019-6:46:58P.M.






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‘Ice’ trafficking defendant gets 5 years

RONNIE M. San Nicolas, 24, who was accused of sending packages containing methamphetamine or “ice” via the U.S. Postal Service, was sentenced by Judge Kenneth Govendo to 12 years in jail but all suspended except for five years and with credit for 408 days time served.

San Nicolas will also be on probation for seven years after serving his time. Moreover, he will undergo drug counseling, pay a $10,000 fine and perform 200 hours of community work service.

San Nicolas pled guilty to trafficking of a controlled substance in March 2019.

For violating the terms and conditions of Drug Court in Criminal Case 17-0143, which involved drug possession and trafficking charges, San Nicolas will pay a fine of up to $2,000 and serve three years’ imprisonment and two years’ probation which will run concurrently with his sentence.

During the sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Govendo noted that San Nicolas could be paroled after serving a third of his sentence.

San Nicolas appealed for leniency, but the judge said he was very disappointed with the defendant for committing drug trafficking after graduating from Drug Court.

After noting the letters of support on behalf of San Nicolas, the judge said he needs to send a message to the community: If you go to Drug Court, complete the the program and commit another crime then you are going to be punished.

The Adult Probation Office recommended that San Nicolas be sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment while the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Chester Hinds, recommended 12 years’ imprisonment.

San Nicolas’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Heather Zona, recommended an eight-year sentence with credit for time served.

San Nicolas and co-defendant Daniel S. Buniag, 29, were charged with trafficking of a controlled substance after CNMI Customs intercepted a tampered coffee-container containing methamphetamine or “ice” sent via mail from San Antonio, Texas a few days before Christmas in Dec. 2018. Both pled not guilty in Jan. 2019.

San Nicolas was also initially charged with importation of contraband and conspiracy to commit trafficking, but these charges were dropped when he pled guilty to trafficking of a controlled substance in March 2019.