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By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 2) - United States agents on Wednesday arrested a man on Saipan who has been a fugitive from Palau since 2001 for trafficking methamphetamine or "ice."

Audy MacDonald Maldangasang, 40, was brought before U.S. District Court Judge Alex R. Munson for an extradition hearing on Wednesday.

Munson set no bail for Maldangasang and ordered the defendant to appear in court on Jan. 5 at 9 a.m.

Court papers showed that Maldangasang was charged with three counts of trafficking controlled substance in Palau.

A warrant for his arrest was issued on April 20, 2001 by the Palau Supreme Court.

According to John J. Rice, branch chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the CNMI, Palau authorities arrested the defendant in 2001 following illegal drug buy-bust operations after they received information he was selling "ice" at his residence in Ngerbodel, Koror.

The Palau court subsequently released the defendant on a $10,000 bail.

After his release, Rice said, Maldangasang violated the conditions of his release order by failing to appear in Palau court.

It was Rice who requested the federal court to issue an arrest warrant against Maldangasang in accordance with the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Palau.

Munson then granted the request.

Immigration records indicated that the defendant arrived on Saipan on March 31, 2002 from South Korea.

Federal authorities learned that Maldangasang has been living with his wife in Koblerville.

January 2, 2004

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