SAIPAN, MP – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendants VINCE KOKI LEON GUERRERO, age 28, and EVELYN CHON TYDINGCO, age 28, were each sentenced in the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands to 120-month terms of imprisonment for Conspiracy to Possess Over Fifty Grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride with the Intent to Distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The Court also ordered five years of supervised release following imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee. In addition, defendants convicted of a federal drug offense may no longer qualify for certain federal benefits.
On February 21, 2018, law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of a package containing suspected methamphetamine at a United States Post Office on Saipan. Approximately 118 grams of methamphetamine was previously removed from the package and replaced with a sham substance. Leon Guerrero and Tydingco, along with co-defendant Elaine Francisco Demei, received the package, which had been sent from California. The defendants were arrested shortly after leaving the scene.
At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ramona V. Manglona found that Leon Guerrero and Tydingco obstructed justice in their attempts to obtain a reduced sentencing recommendation from the government. The Court also found that the defendants had not accepted responsibility for their conduct. The defendants were therefore sentenced to the mandatory minimum term of 120 months imprisonment under federal law.
United States Attorney Shawn N. Anderson stated, “The quantity of methamphetamine seized during this investigation is shocking, particularly given the size of the community. As this case shows, multi-agency efforts are effective in combating drug trafficking in the CNMI. I applaud the hard work of our law enforcement partners in keeping our communities safe.”
This was a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Postal Inspection Service, with the assistance of the CNMI Division of Customs and Guam Customs and Quarantine. The case was prosecuted by Garth R. Backe, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of the Northern Mariana Islands.