PALAU GAINING IN WAR AGAINST "ICE"

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KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, May 15) — There has been a
significant drop in the trafficking of methamphetamine or "ice" in
Palau, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The drug enforcement section of the Division of Criminal
Investigation and Drug Enforcement said there is a notable decrease in the
amount of ice entering the country and ice available in the streets.

Justice Minister Michael Rosenthal said the drop in ice activity
is due to the "excellent" work and relationship between the drug
enforcement section and other government agencies such as the Division of
Customs, the Criminal Investigation Section, and the Attorney General’s
Office.

For this year, government authorities confiscated only about 100
grams of ice, mostly coming from the Philippines. Drug enforcement section
officials said that when Rosenthal assumed office in March 2001, they were
confiscating ice "by the pound." There is now a "very low"
amount of ice activity in the country, the drug enforcement section said, noting
the high number of convictions against drug traffickers and street-level
pushers.

Of the 109 prisoners in the Koror jail, 27 were convicted of
drug-related offenses. The number of drug offenders in the jail constitutes
almost 25 percent of the total jail population.

The drug enforcement section also reported that it has over 30
cases of ice trafficking filed with the court. Rosenthal said successful
investigations and prosecutions against drug traffickers "prove" that
the ministry has implemented significant measures in the fight against illegal
drugs.

"The fight against ice trafficking is a priority of the
Remengesau administration. We have good cooperation among the agencies involved.
However, this is a continuous effort. We cannot stop for a month, for a week or
for even a day because if we do, the problem will come back," said
Rosenthal.

The drug enforcement section has 10 officers and works closely
with the Division of Customs and the Criminal Investigation Section.

There is also a task force composed of drug enforcement section
and customs officers checking the port and airport for any possible entry of
illegal drugs. Moreover, the two drug detector dog purchased by customs will
arrive this month to further boost the government’s anti-drug campaign.

May 15, 2003

Story via Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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