Pubdate: Fri, 05 Nov 2010
Source: Saipan Tribune (US MP)
Copyright: 2010 Saipan Tribune
Author: Ferdie De La Torre


With working relationships between the Drug Enforcement Administration
and the CNMI government at an all-time low, the government is forced
to depend on a new crime laboratory in Guam for tests on suspected
methamphetamine or "ice," resulting in delays in obtaining test results.

This delay resulted in the dismissal without prejudice of "ice"
trafficking charges against Yuhua Wang and Le Xiang Chen, according to
Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja.

Dismissal without prejudice means the prosecution can re-open the case
in the future.

Naraja said the delay in turning over the lab evidence to the suspects
came about largely because of the government's inability to obtain
test results for the substance.

The DEA formerly conducted all drug tests for the CNMI

"This [DEA-CNMI government] relationship has recently deteriorated and
the government has had to contract with a new laboratory to perform
its drug testing," he said.

Naraja said the substances involved in Wang's and Chen's case have now
been delivered to the crime lab and is currently undergoing testing
for methamphetamine.

"Given that the Commonwealth does not have its own crime lab and that
it must depend on the new testing laboratory, which is located in
Guam, the delay in providing the test results in this case does not
appear to be intentional," Naraja said.

The government's failure to give the suspects the results of the lab
analysis on the alleged controlled substance prompted the two through
their lawyers to move to dismiss the case and impose sanctions on the

Naraja granted the motion to dismiss the case, but denied the request
to sanction the government.

Wang is the same store employee who had demanded the return of his
property that were seized by police, including three laptops and a
crystal ornament that were allegedly among those confiscated but not
listed on police receipts. Police denied having the laptops and the
crystal ornament in custody.

Naraja ordered directed the government to return most of the property
that Wang claimed the police had seized. He placed under advisement
the request for the release of the three laptops and the crystal ornament.  
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