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3 arrested for ‘ice’ trafficking

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THREE individuals accused of selling methamphetamine or “ice” on Saipan appeared before Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan on Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Sharleen Arriola, 40, Shuihua Qi aka Mindy, 55, and Ling Wei Meng aka Brother, 28, were each charged with possession and trafficking of a controlled substance.

Judge Bogdan imposed a $100,000 cash bail on each defendant and remanded them to the custody of the Department of Corrections after the hearing.

After learning about the defendants’ illegal activities, the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force said it obtained surveillance authorization from the court and conducted separate investigations and buy-walk operations.

Arriola, on two occasions, sold methamphetamine to a cooperating informant in October 2019, the task force stated.

It added that Meng sold 5 grams of methamphetamine worth $2,100 to an informant.

As for Qi, the task force said she sold a total of 7.1 grams of methamphetamine worth $2,400 to a cooperating source in two buy-walk operations in Dec. 2019.

The cases of the three defendants were previously sealed.

At the hearing on Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Chester Hinds appeared for the government while the court appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Meng and Qi. An interpreter, Dennis Tse, was also provided to the two defendants.

The court said a private lawyer will be appointed to represent Arriola.

Qi will return to court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 4 at 1:30 p.m.

Arriola’s preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. while Meng’s preliminary hearing will be held on Feb. 7 at 10 a.m.

All three defendants will appear before Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja on Feb. 24 at 9 a.m. for their arraignment.

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