Guilty plea in meth importation case

DISTRICT COURT: The District Court of Guam is shown in this file photo. Joel Po Ymballa, 49, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday in a drug importation case. Post file photo

A man charged with conspiracy to import 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride pleaded guilty in the District Court of Guam on Friday.

Joel Po Ymballa, 49, made his initial appearance on "information" the government filed in federal court that listed the drug charge against him.

The case was filed and unsealed in federal court on June 12.

It was stated in court that Ymballa was accused of being involved in the conspiracy to import the drugs from Jan. 1, 2017, to June 24, 2017.

Further details of the case have not been disclosed.

During Friday's hearing before Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan Jr., Ymballa waived his right to be indicted by a grand jury prior to the court accepting his plea.

He faces 10 years to life in federal prison and could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10 million. Sentencing will be given at a later date by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.

Manibusan also allowed Ymballa to remain out of jail under conditions set by the court pending his sentencing hearing.

He is scheduled to return to court for a status hearing on Sept. 12.