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Guam Drug Threat Assessment
August 2003


Heroin poses a relatively minor threat to Guam compared with methamphetamine and marijuana. The Guam Attorney General's Office reports that heroin abuse is a relatively minor concern and occurs infrequently. Although there is a lack of statistical information regarding the demographics of Guam's heroin user population, law enforcement authorities report that abusers typically are tourists rather than residents of the territory. There is, however, a very small population of resident heroin abusers on Guam.

Although the drug is relatively uncommon on Guam, most of the heroin that is available is of high quality from Southeast Asia. According to DEA, Mexican black tar heroin also is reportedly available on Guam, but to a lesser extent. In 2000, the wholesale purity of Southeast Asian heroin was approximately 85 percent, and street level purity averaged 69 percent. Aggressive enforcement operations have kept heroin prices high and availability low. In FY2000 a gram of heroin cost $1,000 on Guam, according to DEA--much higher than prices on the U.S. mainland. In 1998 local law enforcement authorities seized approximately 100 grams of heroin on Guam. The Guam CQA seized 60.3 grams of heroin in 2001, an increase from 1 gram seized in 2000. DEA reported no heroin seizures from FY1999 through FY2001.

The low levels of heroin distribution and abuse on Guam are reflected in the number of drug-related arrests and the number of drug samples submitted to laboratories for analysis. In 1999, 5 of the 447 adult drug-related arrests on Guam were for heroin-related offenses. In the same year, none of the 558 drug samples submitted by law enforcement agencies to the Guam Police Department Crime Laboratory were analyzed as heroin.

The number of heroin-related federal sentences on Guam remained low from FY1997 through FY2001. According to USSC data, Guam had no heroin-related federal sentences in FY1997, two in FY1998, one each in FY1999 and FY2000, and none in FY2001.

Despite the low levels of heroin-related arrests and federal sentences, heroin abuse is occasionally associated with violent crime on Guam. Heroin's highly addictive nature forces users to resort to crime to obtain the money needed to purchase the drug. These users often commit theft and burglary and engage in prostitution to fund their purchases of the drug.

Although heroin is not commonly transported into Guam for distribution, Guam has served as a transshipment point for heroin destined for the U.S. mainland and Canada from Southeast Asia. Typically, small quantities of heroin are transshipped through Guam on commercial aircraft; however, large quantities have been seized from commercial aircraft. Additional quantities are transported through Guam to the United States and Canada aboard maritime vessels used to smuggle illegal aliens.

There is limited information regarding the types of groups that distribute heroin on Guam. It is likely that Asian groups responsible for crystal methamphetamine distribution on Guam also are involved in heroin distribution to some extent.


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