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Duo allegedly distributed the notorious drug

By Ferdie de la Torre SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 8, 2009) - Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested yesterday Jawn Joyner and a woman for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine or "ice" on Saipan.

Joyner was a mainstay of the Visminda back-to-back champion teams in the UFO basketball league a few years ago and was once considered for the CNMI national team.

When the U.S. District Court for the NMI closed yesterday at 3:30 p.m., the case file was not available yet to the media or to the public.

Saipan Tribune, however, learned from sources that DEA served the arrest warrant to Joyner and co-defendant Sheree Demapan Diaz after the U.S. government filed a complaint against them.

The complaint listed Joyner’s co-defendant as Sheree Maratita. But at yesterday’s hearing, she corrected the prosecution by identifying herself as Sheree Demapan Diaz.

The complaint charged Joyner and Diaz with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge David A. Wiseman set no bail at this time for Joyner, while allowed Diaz to be released to a third-party custodian that is acceptable to the U.S. Probation Office.

Wiseman set the preliminary hearing for Oct. 16.

Attorney G. Anthony Long served as temporary counsel for Joyner. Diaz appeared with no lawyer. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Benedetto appeared for the U.S. government.

Sources said DEA agents used a "confidential source" in conducting several "ice" transactions with the defendants during buy-bust operations in 2008 and early this year.

In September 2008, the defendants allegedly conspired to sell .34 actual grams of "ice," while .95 actual grams of "ice" in October 2008.

In March 2009, the defendants allegedly conspired to sell .41 actual grams of "ice."

In August 2009, police arrested Joyner for allegedly beating up and threatening to kill his former common-law wife.

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