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national Drug Intelligence facility Guam Drug threat Assessment august 2003

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, especially high purity crystalmethamphetamine, poses a major illicit drug threat to Guam. Authorities reportthat decision methamphetamine abuse has actually increased top top Guam throughout the past decade.Half of the people admitted because that substance abuse therapy in 1997 and 1998(the many recent data available) were methamphetamine users. The increase inabuse of the drug is attributed come multiple determinants including that readyavailability, low price (less 보다 heroin or cocaine), and also the duration of itseuphoric effects, which can last 12 hours or more--considerably much longer than theeffects associated with many other illegal drugs. Crystal 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 fragments or ice cream shavings. Its manufacturing (aprocess of crystallizing powdered methamphetamine) and also distribution typicallyare connected with asian traffickers.


On Guam decision methamphetamine is known as shabu and typically is exhilaration ina glass pipeline or glass vial. Users heat the glass pipeline or vial with a lighter andinhale the methamphetamine vapors.

The room of mental Health and also Substance Abuse (DMHSA) and lawenforcement public representative report that decision methamphetamine abuse is evidentthroughout Guam"s population. Methamphetamine abuse spans all ethnic, cultural,and period groups--some abusers are as young as 12. The the student in qualities 7through 12 that completed a 1999 drug use survey performed by DMHSA, an ext than 7percent reported having used methamphetamine at the very least once in their lifetime.

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

The meaning of the methamphetamine problem on Guam is reflect in thenumber the drug-related arrests and also the variety of drug samples it is registered tolaboratories for analysis. Methamphetamine-related arrests boosted from 47 in1994 to 333 in 1999. In 1999 methamphetamine-related arrests comprised nearly75 percent the the 447 adult drug-related arrests in the territory. Of the 558drug samples submitted to the Guam Police department Crime laboratory by every lawenforcement organ in 1999, 335 to be analyzed as methamphetamine. In addition,the Guam Customs and also Quarantine agency (CQA) seized 7,423.22 grams ofamphetamines in 2001, more than any kind of other medicine that year and an increase from3,994 grams seized in 2000.

The Guam CQA conducts an ext investigations concerned amphetamines 보다 to anyother drug form except marijuana. In 2001, the company conducted 12amphetamine-related investigations, which represented 17 percent of allinvestigations conducted. In 2000, the agency conducted 26 amphetamine-relatedinvestigations, which represented 15 percent of all investigations conducted.

Methamphetamine accounts because that the majority of drug-related commonwealth sentenceson Guam. Each year from FY1997 with FY2001, methamphetamine-related federalsentences constituted over 90 percent of all drug-related federal sentences onGuam, follow to U.S. Sentencing board of directors (USSC) data. That the 188drug-related federal sentences during this period, 178 weremethamphetamine-related. Throughout the same duration methamphetamine-related federalsentences nationwide accounted because that a much smaller percentage. (See Table1.)

Table 1. Percentage of commonwealth Drug-Related sentence forMethamphetamine Violations, Guam and also 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 law enforcement authorities think that the rise indrug abuse and distribution, most of i beg your pardon is concerned crystalmethamphetamine, has added to climbing levels that violent crime. The numberof robberies entailing the usage of a firearm boosted 228 percent, native 32 in1990 come 105 in 1998--the most recent year because that which data room available. SinceJanuary 1993 Guam Police room officers have seized over 75 firearms and also 10hand grenades in drug-related incidents. Authorities, through undercover drugpurchases, have confiscated added firearms from medicine distributors. Lawenforcement authorities believe that decision methamphetamine abuse also hascontributed dramatically to rises in residential violence.


Arrestees linked to wire of Violent Crimes

In February 2002 seven individuals were arrested in connection with fiverobberies and also a burglary. Among the arrestees to be charged through attempted murderfor committing a shooting throughout one the the robberies. In among the robberiesapproximately 25 guns were steal from a regional shooting range; the thef laterexchanged countless of the guns for crystal methamphetamine. Throughout the execution ofa search warrant in ~ the residence of one of the arrestees, local police officersseized bullets and 19 packets of decision methamphetamine with an estimatedstreet worth of $3,000.

Source: Guam Police Department.


There is no proof to indicate that crystal methamphetamine isproduced on Guam. The Philippines, which serves together both a production andtransshipment area, remains the main source of the crystal methamphetamineavailable on Guam; however, the drug additionally is developed in and also transported fromHong Kong, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. DEA reports that the transportationof crystal methamphetamine indigenous these areas is increasing; however, as ofthe 2nd quarter the FY2002, there had actually not been any recent far-ranging seizuresof crystal methamphetamine being transported from these countries. Follow toDEA, asian organized crime teams are suspected of delivering multikilogramquantities of decision methamphetamine come Guam native Hong Kong, and smallerquantities from other eastern countries.


Crystal Methamphetamine Seized

On November 30, 2000, agents native the DEA Guam resident Office and the GuamCustoms and Quarantine firm seized 2.65 kilograms of decision methamphetaminethat had actually 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 method by which crystal methamphetamine is transported to Guam isby couriers or "mules" bodycarrying the drug on advertisement airlineflights. The drug often is covering in duct tape and also plastic, smeared with atopical analgesic come evade canine detection, and strapped to the body withgauze. Couriers carry 1 come 6 kilograms of decision methamphetamine per trip.Other methods whereby crystal methamphetamine is transported to Guam includeshipment in U.S. Mail, express company parcels such as FedEx and also UPS,concealment in air and also sea cargo, and smuggling by exclusive vessels operatingbetween Guam and also the republic of the northern Mariana archipelago (CNMI).

Direct airline flights from the Philippines come Guam provide distributors onGuam through easy access to decision methamphetamine carriers in the Philippines.In addition, in April 2000 an oriental airline expanded company by opening a newroute indigenous Taipei to Guam, providing a direct connection to providers in Taiwan.Crystal methamphetamine transporters also transship the drug via commercialairlines with Saipan, the resources city the the CNMI, en route to sectors onGuam, Hawaii, and other places in the Pacific, follow to legislation enforcementauthorities in the CNMI.

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

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Limited quantities of methamphetamine likewise are transported intoGuam via package delivery services. U.S. Customs company (USCS) public representative onGuam report that the Korean and Japanese criminal groups that rental this methodof transportation are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These criminal groupsship liquid methamphetamine in medicine bottles, liquor bottles, and also cannedgoods, all of which show up to be factory-sealed. USCS likewise reports that packagessometimes are sent from the Philippines come European nations where lock arerepackaged and also sent to Guam so the they execute not appear to have been shipped froma recognized methamphetamine source country.


Methamphetamine Smuggling

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

Source: DEA.

In 1999 2 Philippine beauty pageant contestants were arrested in twoseparate occurrences for medicine possession in ~ the Guam international Air Terminal.The very first arrestee to be carrying around 1 ounce of crystal methamphetamine in thependant on she necklace, and also the 2nd had crystal methamphetamine residue anddrug paraphernalia in her bag.

Source: Guam CQA.


Mexican criminal teams based in California sometimes transport crystalmethamphetamine come Guam. According to the DEA Guam residents Office, in thesecond 4 minutes 1 of FY2002 there were three far-ranging seizures the crystalmethamphetamine on Guam totaling approximately 8 kilograms. The crystalmethamphetamine was transported via commercial airlines from two sources inCalifornia.

Asian criminal groups overcome all level of decision methamphetaminedistribution ~ above Guam. All distributors usually offer to people withintheir very own ethnic group; however, midlevel and also retail distributors will market tothose exterior their very own ethnic group. Midlevel distributors generally purchasekilogram amounts of crystal methamphetamine; however, lock occasionallypurchase 100- come 500-gram quantities.

Midlevel distributors frequently accept item of value instead of cash inexchange for crystal methamphetamine. They carry out gram quantities of crystalmethamphetamine to retailers in return for merchandise such together guns, televisionsets, cars, collectible coins, stereos, and also computers. In one case, a retaildistributor check to trade a pit bull for decision methamphetamine.

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Crystal methamphetamine is not reduced with other substances at any kind of level ofdistribution; thus, purity remains an extremely high. The drug commonly is distributedin clear straws or tiny plastic resealable bags called plates. A clean straw,which is heat-sealed in ~ both ends, contains 1 to 2 grams the crystalmethamphetamine. A plate is easily accessible in 2 sizes: 0.05 gram, which costs $50,or 0.1 gram, which expenses $100.