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    Saturday, November 25, 2017-7:18:00P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

$750K in drugs seized on Guam

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — In the last six months, the Mandaña Drug Task Force has seized more than $750,000 worth of controlled substances and arrested 55 individuals suspected of involvement in illegal drug activity on the island.

According to information provided by GPD, 13,607 grams of marijuana, 556 grams of methamphetamine and 749 prescription pills were seized during the execution of dozens of search warrants conducted by the task force.

What has been difficult for many of the task force members and law enforcement is seeing first-hand the harm drugs have caused families, especially young children.

Authorities have seen some of the most deplorable conditions while executing search warrants at homes around the island.

Some of the island’s families live in makeshift shelters, such as pop-up tents and canopies with dirt floors, and many don’t have power or running water as a result of a family member’s drug addiction.

Cruz said it isn’t uncommon for authorities to find spoiled food — or no food at all — and dirty living conditions in homes during raids.

“Unfortunately, the children are accustomed to their living conditions,” said Joseph Cruz, the chief of police.

When the task force sees young children in these conditions, they call Child Protective Services.

‘All walks of life’

Police are seeing people from all walks of life getting involved in drug activity. “Methamphetamine does not discriminate against any race, religion, color, or whether you are rich or poor,” the chief said.

The task force was created through an executive order, signed by Gov. Eddie Calvo on Feb. 10. The group was formed to combat the island’s growing drug problem and consists of seven officers from the Guam Police Department, one officer from the Department of Corrections, one officer from the Guam Airport Police, one officer from the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, one officer from the Port Authority of Guam, and one analyst from the Guam Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force.

The current street value of marijuana is $100 for 3 grams, $500 per gram for methamphetamine, and a pharmacist concluded that the 749 prescription pills seized by authorities were worth more than $21,807.

The prescription pills seized included:

• Concerta/Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;

• Ativan, also known as Lorazepam, used to treat anxiety disorders, trouble sleeping and active seizures;

• Klonopin, also known as Clonozepam, which is used to treat seizures and epilepsy;

• Valium, also known as Diazepam, used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms and muscle spasms;

• Oxycodone hydrochloride, also known as Percocet, a pain reliever; and

• Exalgo/Diaudid, also known as a Hydromorphone, used to treat pain.

Search warrants

The task force has executed 37 search warrants since its inception, resulting in 55 felony arrests and the confiscation of $198,289 in drug proceeds.

Cruz said authorities carefully plan out the operations and are always “cautious and alert,” especially when conducting drug investigations.

“Firearms and drugs are synonymous when conducting drug investigations,” Cruz said. “Suspects use firearms to protect themselves and their drug operations.”

In recent months, police have encountered several individuals who engaged in shootouts with officers during attempted traffic stops, and dozens of firearms have been confiscated during raids of drug users’ homes.

Cruz said authorities cannot fight the war on drugs on the island by themselves and it will take the entire community working together. “Residents can call Guam Crime Stoppers to report a crime, the nearest precinct, or the Mandaña Drug Task Force about any illegal drug activity in their neighborhood,” he said. “Let’s come together and reduce the flow of meth.”