Woman who conspired to sell meth: 'Don't send me away'

SENTENCED: Donna Mendiola was sentenced to 21 months in a federal prison facility at her meth case sentencing Thursday in the District Court of Guam. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

Federal drug defendant Donna Mendiola shed tears during her sentencing hearing at the District Court of Guam on Thursday.

Mendiola, who pleaded guilty to attempted possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, was sentenced to 21 months in the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Mendiola,  who is represented by attorney William Gavras, walked into the courtroom crying and turned back to her family as she said, "I'm sorry" to her sister and daughters who attended the hearing.

"I beg you to please have mercy and leniency and to forgive me for my crime. Please don't send me away," Mendiola said to Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.

Tydingco-Gatewood recommended that Mendiola serve her time at a facility in Colorado, so she could be close to some of her relatives.

The judge also recommended Mendiola receive drug treatment.

Mendiola had asked to be released for "at least three days" so that she could spend time with her family before she begins her sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rosetta San Nicolas and the U.S. Probation Office objected to the request, as the defendant had multiple violations during her pretrial release.

San Nicolas said the defendant had tested positive for drug use nine times.

The judge denied the request.

"I love you guys," Mendiola said to her family, as U.S. Marshals escorted her out of the courtroom.

Drug bust

Mendiola, along with Jimmy Law and Fidela Manalo Cabrera, were indicted on drug charges in 2018.

According to court documents, the three conspired and agreed to distribute at least 50 grams of meth between Jan. 1, 2013, and March 7, 2017.

In 2015, Mendiola attempted to receive a package through the mail that was addressed to her ex-boyfriend's deceased mother.

The package contained 13 grams of meth that had a 42% purity level and sold for a street value of about $2,000.

San Nicolas said Mendiola signed for the package before she was confronted by law enforcement.

Law has since pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. He faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 1.

Cabrera previously requested her case be moved to California so that she doesn't have to travel to Guam due to her poor health.

In May, the federal court granted the prosecution's motion to dismiss her case without prejudice. The prosecution, citing Rule 48(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which states, "The government may, with leave of court, dismiss an indictment, information, or complaint. The government may not dismiss the prosecution during trial without the defendant's consent," according to Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute.

Court documents state the federal government determined that a dismissal would be appropriate and not “clearly contrary to manifest public interest.”