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nationwide Drug Intelligence center Guam Drug danger Assessment respectable 2003

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, especially high purity crystalmethamphetamine, poses a serious illicit drug threat to Guam. Authorities reportthat crystal methamphetamine abuse has increased top top Guam throughout the previous decade.Half the the individuals admitted for substance abuse therapy in 1997 and 1998(the most recent data available) to be methamphetamine users. The rise inabuse that the drug is attributed to multiple components including the readyavailability, low cost (less than heroin or cocaine), and the expression of itseuphoric effects, which can last 12 hours or more--considerably longer than theeffects connected with numerous other illicit drugs. Decision methamphetamine isoften called negative man"s cocaine due to its relatively low cost and also similareffects.

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Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal methamphetamine is a colorless, odorless, smokable kind ofd-methamphetamine resembling glass pieces or ice cream shavings. Its manufacturing (aprocess of crystallizing powdered methamphetamine) and distribution typicallyare associated with asian traffickers.


On Guam decision methamphetamine is well-known as shabu and also typically is exhilaration ina glass pipe or glass vial. Users warm the glass pipe or vial through a lighter andinhale the methamphetamine vapors.

The room of mental Health and Substance Abuse (DMHSA) and lawenforcement officials report that decision methamphetamine abuse is evidentthroughout Guam"s population. Methamphetamine abuse spans all ethnic, cultural,and age groups--some abusers space as young together 12. Of the college student in qualities 7through 12 that completed a 1999 drug usage survey performed by DMHSA, much more than 7percent reported having actually used methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime.

Crystal methamphetamine is readily easily accessible on Guam in gram to kilogramquantities since of a stable supply of the medicine from the Philippines together wellas indigenous Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and also South Korea. The medicine EnforcementAdministration (DEA) reports that the price of decision methamphetamine in ~ theretail level--while quiet high by mainland standards--decreased during the pastfew years. The price the 1 gram of decision methamphetamine decreased from a rangeof $600 to $1,000 in budget year (FY) 1999 to $250 to $500 in FY2000 and FY2001,according to DEA. Oz prices for crystal methamphetamine remained stable ataround $8,000 native FY1999 v FY2001, and kilogram prices ranged from$180,000 come $200,000 duringthat period. Purity ranged from 97 come 100 percent.

The significance of the methamphetamine difficulty on Guam is reflect in thenumber of drug-related arrests and also the number of drug samples submitted tolaboratories for analysis. Methamphetamine-related arrests raised from 47 in1994 come 333 in 1999. In 1999 methamphetamine-related arrests comprised nearly75 percent that the 447 adult drug-related arrests in the territory. The the 558drug samples submitted to the Guam Police room Crime activities by all lawenforcement organ in 1999, 335 were analyzed as methamphetamine. In addition,the Guam Customs and also Quarantine firm (CQA) seized 7,423.22 grams ofamphetamines in 2001, much more than any type of other drug that year and an increase from3,994 grams seized in 2000.

The Guam CQA conducts an ext investigations concerned amphetamines than to anyother drug kind except marijuana. In 2001, the agency conducted 12amphetamine-related investigations, which stood for 17 percent the allinvestigations conducted. In 2000, the firm conducted 26 amphetamine-relatedinvestigations, which stood for 15 percent of all investigations conducted.

Methamphetamine accounts because that the majority of drug-related commonwealth sentenceson Guam. Every year from FY1997 v FY2001, methamphetamine-related federalsentences constituted over 90 percent of every drug-related commonwealth sentences onGuam, according to U.S. Sentencing commission (USSC) data. That the 188drug-related commonwealth sentences during this period, 178 weremethamphetamine-related. Throughout the same period methamphetamine-related federalsentences nationwide accounted for a much smaller percentage. (See Table1.)

Table 1. Percent of federal Drug-Related sentence forMethamphetamine Violations, Guam and United States, FY1997-FY2001GuamUnited StatesFY1997FY1998FY1999FY2000FY2001
93.710.2
94.211.4
95.412.8
95.314.5
95.214.2

Source: USSC.

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Guam legislation enforcement authorities believe that the increase indrug abuse and also distribution, most of i m sorry is pertained to crystalmethamphetamine, has contributed to climbing levels the violent crime. The numberof robberies entailing the usage of a firearm increased 228 percent, native 32 in1990 to 105 in 1998--the many recent year for which data room available. SinceJanuary 1993 Guam Police department officers have actually seized end 75 firearms and also 10hand grenades in drug-related incidents. Authorities, through undercover drugpurchases, have confiscated additional firearms from medicine distributors. Lawenforcement authorities think that decision methamphetamine abuse additionally hascontributed significantly to rises in domestic violence.


Arrestees connected to cable of Violent Crimes

In February 2002 seven individuals were arrested in link with fiverobberies and a burglary. Among the arrestees was charged through attempted murderfor committing a shooting throughout one the the robberies. In among the robberiesapproximately 25 guns were stolen from a neighborhood shooting range; the theif laterexchanged numerous of the guns for crystal methamphetamine. During the execution ofa search warrant at the residence of among the arrestees, regional police officersseized bullets and also 19 packets of decision methamphetamine v an estimatedstreet worth of $3,000.

Source: Guam Police Department.


There is no evidence to indicate that crystal methamphetamine isproduced top top Guam. The Philippines, i beg your pardon serves together both a manufacturing andtransshipment area, stays the main resource of the decision methamphetamineavailable top top Guam; however, the drug likewise is developed in and also transported fromHong Kong, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. DEA reports the the transportationof decision methamphetamine from these places is increasing; however, together ofthe 2nd quarter of FY2002, there had not been any kind of recent far-reaching seizuresof decision methamphetamine being transported from these countries. According toDEA, eastern organized crime teams are suspected of delivering multikilogramquantities of crystal methamphetamine to Guam indigenous Hong Kong, and smallerquantities from other eastern countries.


Crystal Methamphetamine Seized

On November 30, 2000, agents indigenous the DEA Guam resides Office and the GuamCustoms and Quarantine company seized 2.65 kilograms of decision methamphetaminethat had been smuggled via commercial airline from the Philippines. The agentsarrested a Guamanian national and also an Italian national following the seizure.

Source: DEA.


The primary way by which decision methamphetamine is transported come Guam isby couriers or "mules" bodycarrying the medicine on advertisement airlineflights. The drug often is wrapped in duct tape and also plastic, smeared through atopical analgesic to evade canine detection, and strapped to the body withgauze. Couriers deliver 1 come 6 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine every trip.Other methods through which crystal methamphetamine is transported come Guam includeshipment in U.S. Mail, express organization parcels such as FedEx and also UPS,concealment in air and sea cargo, and smuggling by private vessels operatingbetween Guam and the commonwealth of the north Mariana archipelago (CNMI).

Direct airline flights from the Philippines come Guam carry out distributors onGuam through easy accessibility to crystal methamphetamine suppliers in the Philippines.In addition, in April 2000 an oriental airline expanded company by opening a newroute indigenous Taipei come Guam, offering a direct link to companies in Taiwan.Crystal methamphetamine transporters additionally transship the drug via commercialairlines with Saipan, the resources city of the CNMI, en path to markets onGuam, Hawaii, and also other locations in the Pacific, follow to legislation enforcementauthorities in the CNMI.

Figure 1. Methamphetamine transportation from the Philippines,Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and South Korea to Guam.

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Limited amounts of methamphetamine additionally are transported intoGuam via package shipment services. U.S. Customs business (USCS) public official onGuam report the the Korean and also Japanese criminal teams that rental this methodof transportation are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These criminal groupsship fluid methamphetamine in medication bottles, liquor bottles, and cannedgoods, all of which show up to be factory-sealed. USCS likewise reports the packagessometimes are sent from the Philippines come European nations where they arerepackaged and sent come Guam so the they carry out not appear to have been transport froma known methamphetamine resource country.


Methamphetamine Smuggling

In beforehand 2000 a joint examination involving Guam and Hong Kong lawenforcement agencies resulted in the arrests of three individuals and also theseizure of more than 17 kilograms of methamphetamine that had actually been sent out to Guamfrom China via a package shipment service.

Source: DEA.

In 1999 2 Philippine beauty pageant contestants to be arrested in twoseparate events for medicine possession at the Guam worldwide Air Terminal.The very first arrestee to be carrying around 1 ounce of crystal methamphetamine in thependant on she necklace, and the second had decision methamphetamine residue anddrug paraphernalia in her bag.

Source: Guam CQA.


Mexican criminal groups based in California periodically transport crystalmethamphetamine to Guam. According to the DEA Guam residents Office, in thesecond quarter of FY2002 there were three far-ranging seizures that crystalmethamphetamine top top Guam totaling around 8 kilograms. The crystalmethamphetamine to be transported via commercial airline from two sources inCalifornia.

Asian criminal groups overcome all levels of decision methamphetaminedistribution on Guam. Wholesale distributors usually offer to individuals withintheir very own ethnic group; however, midlevel and retail distributors will sell tothose exterior their very own ethnic group. Midlevel distributors generally purchasekilogram amounts of decision methamphetamine; however, lock occasionallypurchase 100- come 500-gram quantities.

Midlevel distributors commonly accept items of value rather of cash inexchange for decision methamphetamine. They carry out gram amounts of crystalmethamphetamine to retailers in return for merchandise such together guns, televisionsets, cars, collectible coins, stereos, and also computers. In one case, a retaildistributor attempted to profession a pit bull for decision methamphetamine.

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Crystal methamphetamine is not reduced with various other substances at any level ofdistribution; thus, purity remains very high. The drug frequently is distributedin clear straws or tiny plastic resealable bags dubbed plates. A clean straw,which is heat-sealed in ~ both ends, includes 1 come 2 grams of crystalmethamphetamine. A key is easily accessible in two sizes: 0.05 gram, which costs $50,or 0.1 gram, which expenses $100.