Former CNMI Lawmaker Sentenced For Drug Possession

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Palacios faces 3 years in prison for possessing methamphetamines

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, April 10, 2013) – Former Precinct 2 Rep. Raymond D. Palacios will serve three years in prison without parole for one count of "ice" possession.

Judge Kenneth Govendo, during the sentencing yesterday, said Palacios, 49, will also be placed on two years of probation and pay a $2,000 fine.

After the former two-term House member pleaded guilty to "ice" possession, the government dropped the drug-trafficking charges against him.

The prosecutor, James McCallister, recommended the maximum term of five years in prison in light of aggravating factors, saying the crime was committed by an elected official while serving his term as a member of the Legislature.

But Palacios’s defense lawyer, Jack Torres, said his client deserved leniency because of his contributions to the community.

Palacios was arrested last year but the House of Representatives never expelled him despite the formation of the fact-finding committee headed by then-House Floor Leader George N. Camacho.

Govendo said people expect more from their public officials and there should be more severe punishment when they violate the law.

In an interview with Variety a few days prior to his arrest Palacios said he never sold "ice," but was just buying it for a family member.

Yesterday, he told the court he did not buy "ice" for himself but was just helping a female friend.

Govendo said Palacios made a terrible mistake and described the former lawmaker’s excuse as "ridiculous."

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