DPS Commissioner Alarmed By Volume Of ‘Ice’ In CNMI

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Illegal drug problem ‘out of control’: Deleon Guerrero

By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 24, 2013) – Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero expressed alarm yesterday over the big volume of crystal methamphetamine or "ice" circulating in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Over 20 years ago, he said, the street value of "ice" in the Commonwealth was between $800 to $1,000 per gram. Today, a user can buy a gram of "ice" for only $250.

"So that means there’s a lot of drugs out there," he said.

Deleon Guerrero said he is quite concerned about this "ice" problem, considering that many people are cashing out their retirement refund checks since yesterday.

"It would be an absolute travesty for their family if they start to use the money to play poker or use drugs," he said.

The "ice" problem appears to be getting out of control, he said, so it is about time to seriously address this issue. Deleon Guerrero said "ice" use is a major contributor to theft and robbery cases.

He said there used to be two independent task forces—the CNMI Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—to battle the "ice" problem.

Now the two task forces "are put under one house, so to speak."

He said the two task forces will now operate out of the DEA office.

"While they are operating independently because of the type of laws they’re supposed to enforce, they are somewhat unified in a sense that they are able to share information more closely together, that they are coordinating efforts everyday," Deleon Guerrero said.

He said it was at his recent meeting with the Customs director when they agreed to put the task forces under one house.

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