GPD sees increase in drug-related crimes as price of meth drops

(PNC file photo)

Over 67 individuals have been charged in the Superior Court of Guam on meth-related offenses since the start of the year. But is this an increase? Police say yes.

The Guam Police Department says they are seeing a significant increase in drug-related offenses a vast majority of which involve methamphetamine. While the increase in arrests means that meth is being taken off the streets, it is also an indicator of how bad the addiction on island has become and how readily available the drug is.

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“So working closely with our federal counterparts and of course our local agencies the Guam Customs and Quarantine and of course all the other ports of entry, we are doing our best to control and curb meth. But once it enters the streets, we are seeing the numbers because compared to nationwide, there’s a lot of people and a lot of demands and a lot of supply that’s coming in not just on Guam but nationwide,” said GPD spokesman Sgt. Paul Tapao.

The 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment reported street prices for methamphetamine range from $350 to $500 per gram. Tapao shared he last tracked the price between $150 to $200 a gram. But that price fluctuates based on the availability on island as well as supply and demand in the U.S.

“It’s really hard to gauge because it’s always seasonal. You may have seasonal things where you may have an abundance of or a drop-off, whether there’s listed supply that’s coming in or there’s an “X” amount of supply that’s here. So it’s really hard to gauge the market changes,” Tapao said.

He says they are also dealing with other drugs, not just meth. Authorities have seen an uptick in prescription drugs hitting the streets. Ice, however, remains the prevalent choice on island.

Tapao says fueling that addiction often leads to other crimes being committed. Tapao highlighted the recent arrest of an individual identified as Fuller who was arrested for numerous car break-ins and subsequently when he was being transported to DOC by police, they discovered meth in the patrol car he was being transported in.

“This is really understanding what addiction is. How it’s contributing to the growing problems in society and what we are dealing with. Seeing it from the forefront, as a patrol officer, and seeing it now from a community relations officer, we are seeing the effects of what happens with our kids, we are seeing the effects of what happens to the family,” Tapao said.