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national Drug Intelligence center Guam Drug hazard Assessment august 2003

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, especially high purity crystalmethamphetamine, poses a significant illicit drug danger to Guam. Authorities reportthat crystal methamphetamine abuse has actually increased top top Guam throughout the previous decade.Half of the individuals admitted for substance abuse treatment in 1997 and 1998(the many recent data available) were methamphetamine users. The boost inabuse the the medicine is attributed come multiple determinants including the readyavailability, low cost (less 보다 heroin or cocaine), and the duration of itseuphoric effects, which deserve to last 12 hours or more--considerably longer than theeffects linked with many other illicit drugs. Crystal methamphetamine isoften called bad man"s cocaine because of its relatively low cost and also similareffects.

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Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal methamphetamine is a colorless, odorless, smokable form ofd-methamphetamine the same, similar thing glass fragments or ice shavings. Its production (aprocess of crystallizing powdered methamphetamine) and also distribution typicallyare linked with oriental traffickers.


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

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

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

The meaning of the methamphetamine trouble on Guam is reflected in thenumber the drug-related arrests and the variety of drug samples it is registered tolaboratories because that analysis. Methamphetamine-related arrests enhanced from 47 in1994 come 333 in 1999. In 1999 methamphetamine-related arrests comprised nearly75 percent of the 447 adult drug-related arrests in the territory. Of the 558drug samples submitted to the Guam Police room Crime laboratory by all lawenforcement organ in 1999, 335 were analyzed as methamphetamine. In addition,the Guam Customs and Quarantine agency (CQA) seized 7,423.22 grams ofamphetamines in 2001, much more than any kind of other drug that year and rise from3,994 grams seized in 2000.

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

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

Table 1. Percent of commonwealth 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 law enforcement authorities believe that the increase indrug abuse and distribution, many of i beg your pardon is related to crystalmethamphetamine, has added to rising levels that violent crime. The numberof robberies including the usage of a firearm enhanced 228 percent, indigenous 32 in1990 come 105 in 1998--the many recent year for which data space available. SinceJanuary 1993 Guam Police room officers have seized end 75 firearms and also 10hand grenades in drug-related incidents. Authorities, v undercover drugpurchases, have confiscated added firearms from medicine distributors. Lawenforcement authorities think that crystal methamphetamine abuse also hascontributed considerably to rises in residential violence.


Arrestees linked to cable of Violent Crimes

In February 2002 seven people were arrested in link with fiverobberies and also a burglary. One of the arrestees to be charged through attempted murderfor committing a shooting during one that the robberies. In one of the robberiesapproximately 25 weapons were stolen from a regional shooting range; the theif laterexchanged plenty of of the guns for crystal methamphetamine. Throughout the execution ofa find warrant at the residence of among the arrestees, regional police officersseized bullets and also 19 packets of crystal methamphetamine with an estimatedstreet worth of $3,000.

Source: Guam Police Department.


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


Crystal Methamphetamine Seized

On November 30, 2000, agents native the DEA Guam resides Office and the GuamCustoms and Quarantine firm seized 2.65 kilograms of decision methamphetaminethat had been smuggled via commercial airlines from the Philippines. The agentsarrested a Guamanian national and 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 drug on advertisement airlineflights. The drug often is covering in duct tape and plastic, smeared through atopical analgesic to evade canine detection, and also strapped to the body withgauze. Couriers transport 1 come 6 kilograms of decision methamphetamine every trip.Other methods through which crystal methamphetamine is transported to Guam includeshipment in U.S. Mail, express organization parcels such as FedEx and UPS,concealment in air and sea cargo, and also smuggling by personal vessels operatingbetween Guam and the republic of the north Mariana archipelago (CNMI).

Direct airline flights native the Philippines to Guam carry out distributors onGuam v easy accessibility to crystal methamphetamine companies in the Philippines.In addition, in April 2000 an asian airline expanded organization by opened a newroute native Taipei to Guam, offering a direct connection to companies in Taiwan.Crystal methamphetamine transporters also transship the drug via commercialairlines v Saipan, the funding city that the CNMI, en course to markets onGuam, Hawaii, and other locations in the Pacific, follow to regulation enforcementauthorities in the CNMI.

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

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Limited quantities of methamphetamine also are transported intoGuam via package delivery services. U.S. Customs business (USCS) officials onGuam report the the Korean and also Japanese criminal teams that rental this methodof transport are becoming increasingly sophisticated. This criminal groupsship fluid methamphetamine in medicine bottles, liquor bottles, and also cannedgoods, every one of which show up to it is in factory-sealed. USCS also reports that packagessometimes are sent from the Philippines come European countries where castle arerepackaged and sent to Guam so that they carry out not show up to have been shipped froma recognized methamphetamine resource country.


Methamphetamine Smuggling

In beforehand 2000 a joint investigation involving Guam and also Hong Kong lawenforcement agencies brought about the arrests of 3 individuals and also theseizure of much more than 17 kilograms of methamphetamine that had been sent out to Guamfrom China via a package delivery service.

Source: DEA.

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

Source: Guam CQA.


Mexican criminal groups based in California sometimes transport crystalmethamphetamine to Guam. Follow to the DEA Guam resident Office, in thesecond quarter of FY2002 there to be three significant seizures that crystalmethamphetamine top top Guam totaling about 8 kilograms. The crystalmethamphetamine was transported via commercial airlines from two resources inCalifornia.

Asian criminal groups overcome all level of decision methamphetaminedistribution ~ above Guam. Wholesale distributors usually sell to individuals withintheir very own ethnic group; however, midlevel and retail distributors will sell tothose outside their very own ethnic group. Midlevel distributors typically purchasekilogram quantities of decision methamphetamine; however, they occasionallypurchase 100- come 500-gram quantities.

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

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Crystal methamphetamine is not cut with other substances at any type of level ofdistribution; thus, purity remains really high. The drug typically is distributedin clean straws or small plastic resealable bags called plates. A clean straw,which is heat-sealed at both ends, includes 1 to 2 grams that crystalmethamphetamine. A key is accessible in 2 sizes: 0.05 gram, which prices $50,or 0.1 gram, which costs $100.