Due to the amount of people and merchandise that comes into Guam, the opportunity for drug smuggling into the territory is extremely good. Over 75 percent of Guam’s industrial goods and food is imported from the United States mainland. A huge source of revenue for Guam is their tourism. Tourist trade has quickly grown over the past. This has created quite a few jobs in the construction field and industry because there has been and increased need for hotels and other building structures.
The Guam International Air Terminal is where the drugs coming into Guam are transported through for the most part. Drugs that have been confiscated were found on passengers, in their baggage and cargo. There are also couriers that transport the illegal drugs on their body or in their luggage. There are other ways illegal drugs are transported into Guam. Many drugs are hidden in coolers with false bottoms, suitcases, hidden inside fish that are frozen, mixed in with wood-carvings and hidden in other air-freight cargo. A very small amount of drugs are actually transported to Guam through packaged delivery service. Guam Customs and Quarantine Agencies inspect all mail that enters into Guam from foreign countries so sneaking or smuggling in illegal drugs through the delivery service doesn’t happen very often.
Guam’s drug problems continue to grow. Throughout Guam’s history, marijuana was the main drug that was available throughout the territory. Crystal methamphetamine has become more prominent over the past decade though and is a drug of choice.
Crystal meth that is very high in purity is a very serious illegal drug that threatens Guam. This drug according to authorities has increased in abuse for the past decade. In 1997 and 1998 half of the people receiving treatment for substance abuse admitted that they were methamphetamine abusers. The increase was due to several reasons including the fact that it was readily available, the cost was low (lower than heroin or cocaine), and the long lasting euphoric effects. The euphoric effects can last for about 12 hours or longer. This is quite a lot longer than effects that are associated with many other illegal and illicit drugs.
Crystal methamphetamine is commonly referred to as the poor man’s cocaine because it is low in cost. In Guam this drug is referred to as ‘shabu’ and is usually smoked in a glass pipe or vial. The abuser heats the glass pipe or vial using a lighter and then they inhale the methamphetamine vapors. In 2004, a gram sold for $350 to $600. 1/10 of a gram sold for $100. The purity level of ‘ice’ was at 97-99 percent.
Ecstasy didn’t take long to become popular and abused. Intelligence information shows that ecstasy isn’t produced in Guam. Instead it is shipped from the mainland. This new drug is one of Guam’s popular drugs of choice. One tablet of ecstasy in 2004 sold for $60.
Marijuana is another one of Guam’s sought after drugs and is quite abused. Marijuana that is grown locally is much less potent. Most of the confiscated marijuana has come from the Republic of the Philippines and Micronesian Islands that has been imported into Guam. Most of the marijuana in Guam actually comes from Belau with smaller amounts that are imported in from Hawaii and the Federated States of Micronesia. Marijuana at one time was imported into Guam in large quantities. In 1991 law enforcement realized it was starting to come into Guam in pre-rolled cigarette form. To make up for the revenue, the drug traffickers increased the cost of each marijuana cigarette. Finger bags and ounce bags are rarely found in Guam now. In 2004, a joint sold for $20 and an ounce for $800. A pound of marijuana sold for $12,800 and plants for $1,000.
Heroin was primarily imported from Thailand, Korea and the United States in 2004. The level of purity was about 85 percent with 6 percent Acetyl Codeine. In 1998 a total of .13 kilograms of heroin was seized by law enforcement officials.
Cocaine is usually imported from the United States, the Philippines is becoming a huge source country as well. In 2004, cocaine was predominately abused by professionals and businessmen. At one time, cocaine was about 88 percent in purity but anymore, the purity levels have decreased to around 86 percent.
From July 2002 until June 2003, the multi-jurisdictional task force confiscated 7,674 grams of Methamphetamine that was valued at $6,450,250 at the time. During that same time frame, a total of 2,612 grams of marijuana was confiscated with a value of $222,236.