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national Drug Intelligence center Guam Drug threat Assessment august 2003

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, especially high purity crystalmethamphetamine, poses a significant illicit drug hazard to Guam. Authorities reportthat crystal methamphetamine abuse has increased ~ above Guam throughout the previous decade.Half that the people admitted for substance abuse treatment in 1997 and 1998(the most recent data available) to be methamphetamine users. The increase inabuse that the medicine is attributed come multiple factors including that readyavailability, low cost (less than heroin or cocaine), and the term of itseuphoric effects, which have the right to last 12 hrs or more--considerably longer than theeffects connected with plenty of other illicit drugs. Crystal methamphetamine isoften called negative man"s cocaine due to its relatively low cost and similareffects.

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Crystal Methamphetamine

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


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

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

Crystal methamphetamine is readily easily accessible on Guam in gram to kilogramquantities since of a stable 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 still high by mainland standards--decreased during the pastfew years. The price that 1 gram of crystal methamphetamine reduced from a rangeof $600 come $1,000 in fiscal year (FY) 1999 to $250 to $500 in FY2000 and FY2001,according come DEA. Ounce prices for decision methamphetamine stayed stable ataround $8,000 native FY1999 v FY2001, and also 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 the drug-related arrests and also 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 made up nearly75 percent of the 447 adult drug-related arrests in the territory. Of the 558drug samples it is registered to the Guam Police room Crime laboratory by every 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 other drug that year and rise from3,994 grams seized in 2000.

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

Methamphetamine accounts for the majority of drug-related federal sentenceson Guam. Every year from FY1997 with FY2001, methamphetamine-related federalsentences made up over 90 percent of all drug-related federal sentences onGuam, follow to U.S. Sentencing commission (USSC) data. That the 188drug-related federal 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. Portion of commonwealth Drug-Related sentences 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 think that the boost indrug abuse and distribution, most of i beg your pardon is concerned crystalmethamphetamine, has added to rising levels the violent crime. The numberof robberies including the use of a firearm enhanced 228 percent, indigenous 32 in1990 to 105 in 1998--the many recent year because that which data space available. SinceJanuary 1993 Guam Police room officers have seized end 75 firearms and 10hand grenades in drug-related incidents. Authorities, with undercover drugpurchases, have confiscated additional firearms from drug distributors. Lawenforcement authorities think that crystal methamphetamine abuse additionally hascontributed dramatically to rises in residential violence.


Arrestees linked to wire of Violent Crimes

In February 2002 seven people were arrested in connection with fiverobberies and also a burglary. Among the arrestees was charged v attempted murderfor committing a shooting during one that the robberies. In among the robberiesapproximately 25 weapons were steal from a regional shooting range; the thieves laterexchanged many of the firearms for crystal methamphetamine. During the execution ofa find warrant in ~ the residence of among the arrestees, regional police officersseized bullets and 19 packets of decision methamphetamine v an estimatedstreet worth of $3,000.

Source: Guam Police Department.


There is no evidence to imply that decision methamphetamine isproduced top top Guam. The Philippines, i beg your pardon serves as both a production andtransshipment area, stays the main source of the decision methamphetamineavailable on Guam; however, the drug also is produced in and also transported fromHong Kong, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. DEA reports the the transportationof crystal methamphetamine indigenous these areas is increasing; however, together ofthe 2nd quarter the FY2002, there had actually not been any kind of recent far-ranging seizuresof decision methamphetamine being transported from these countries. Follow toDEA, asian organized crime teams are suspected of moving multikilogramquantities of decision methamphetamine to Guam indigenous Hong Kong, and also smallerquantities native other oriental countries.


Crystal Methamphetamine Seized

On November 30, 2000, agents indigenous the DEA Guam resides Office and the GuamCustoms and Quarantine firm seized 2.65 kilograms of decision methamphetaminethat had actually 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 commercial airlineflights. The drug often is sheathe in duct tape and plastic, smeared through atopical analgesic to evade canine detection, and also strapped to the body withgauze. Couriers transfer 1 come 6 kilograms of decision methamphetamine per trip.Other methods by which 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 personal vessels operatingbetween Guam and also the commonwealth of the north Mariana islands (CNMI).

Direct airline flights indigenous the Philippines come Guam administer distributors onGuam v easy accessibility to crystal methamphetamine suppliers in the Philippines.In addition, in April 2000 an oriental airline expanded business by opened a newroute from Taipei come Guam, providing a direct link to carriers in Taiwan.Crystal methamphetamine transporters likewise transship the medicine via commercialairlines with Saipan, the resources city the the CNMI, en route to industries onGuam, Hawaii, and also other areas in the Pacific, according to regulation enforcementauthorities in the CNMI.

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

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Limited quantities of methamphetamine additionally are transported intoGuam via package delivery services. U.S. Customs organization (USCS) public official onGuam report the the Korean and Japanese criminal teams that rental this methodof transport are ending up being increasingly sophisticated. This criminal groupsship fluid methamphetamine in medicine bottles, liquor bottles, and cannedgoods, every one of which show up to be factory-sealed. USCS additionally reports the packagessometimes are sent out from the Philippines to European nations where they arerepackaged and also sent come Guam so that they perform not show up to have been shipped froma recognized methamphetamine source country.


Methamphetamine Smuggling

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

Source: DEA.

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

Source: Guam CQA.


Mexican criminal teams based in California sometimes transport crystalmethamphetamine to Guam. According to the DEA Guam residents Office, in thesecond 4 minutes 1 of FY2002 there were three far-ranging seizures that crystalmethamphetamine ~ above Guam totaling roughly 8 kilograms. The crystalmethamphetamine to be transported via commercial airlines from two resources inCalifornia.

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

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

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Crystal methamphetamine is not reduced with various other substances at any level ofdistribution; thus, purity remains an extremely high. The drug generally is distributedin clear straws or small plastic resealable bags referred to as plates. A clean straw,which is heat-sealed at both ends, has 1 to 2 grams of crystalmethamphetamine. A plate is accessible in two sizes: 0.05 gram, which costs $50,or 0.1 gram, which costs $100.