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By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 15) – A woman who was part of a drug-smuggling ring that brought hundreds of grams of ice into Guam from Mexico will serve 46 months in a federal prison.

Deanna Morales was sentenced in the U.S. District Court of Guam yesterday after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride with intent to distribute in June.

She was indicted in May on four counts involving conspiracy to import ice, attempting to possess the drug with the intent to distribute, possessing the drug and money laundering, said Mae Blas, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's office.

The conspiracy and money-laundering charges were dropped, said attorney Sam Teker, who represented Morales.

Morales must pay a US$100 special assessment fee and, once the 46 months are complete, will serve five years of supervised release.

Morales was one of more than 10 people alleged to have been involved in a drug-smuggling ring that lasted about six months.

The operation lasted from November of last year to May, when authorities received a tip that a group had been smuggling methamphetamine hydrochloride from Tijuana, Mexico, to California to Hawaii to Guam, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Between Hawaii and Guam, authorities seized more than 300 grams of ice - close to a pound - estimated to be worth more than US$110,000 if sold on the streets.

Since the early 1990s, the highly addictive drug ice has become prevalent on Guam and has contributed to the rising levels of violent crimes on island, according to Pacific Daily News files.

In 1999, almost 75 percent of all adult drug-related arrests involved ice, files state.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR files, some of the smugglers pleaded guilty to hiding the drug in their body cavities while flying on Continental flights from California to Guam to deliver the drug. Just this month, Bill 140 was signed into law and states that the retail sale of pseudo-ephedrine – a main ingredient in the manufacture of ice – or any derivative of pseudo-ephedrine will be subject to restrictive requirements including prohibiting over-the-counter purchases of more than two packages of a product containing pseudo-ephedrine within 24 hours.]

December 15, 2005

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