U.S. Postal Service wages war on Ice - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

U.S. Postal Service wages war on Ice

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Most people don't know that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies. Their agents are tasked to enforce more than 200 federal laws covering crimes that affect or fraudulently use the postal system. With the cost of crystal methamphetamine continuously increasing on Guam, currently 10 times more than what it costs in the U.S. Mainland, drug traffickers are targeting the postal service to bring in Ice for them.

Drug traffickers beware! The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is watching you.  In recent months dozens of individuals have used the postal service as a means to try and bring in various quantities of crystal methamphetamine into Guam. With an estimated 21 million packages expected to be delivered to Guam this year alone, the organization has a daunting task of locating the drugs concealed in all types and shapes of letters and packages sent through the mail. 

Postal inspector Steve Basak said, "The principle source states for stuff coming to Guam being California, Washington, Oregon, they simply have their connections right now to Guam, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that's the only place they're coming from, but that's what we're seeing right now."

Guam is unique because the drugs aren't just coming from the U.S. Mainland where drugs are more accessible and sold much cheaper but also from Asia. A gram of Ice sells on Guam for between $500 and $800 - nearly ten times more than what it's sold for in the states, making the island a profitable place to sell crystal meth. Basak says they've recently intercepted small amounts of the drug ice being shipped to Guam from the Philippines.

Drug traffickers are trying to get creative when they send the drugs, too. From shipping liquid meth in snow globes to concealing smaller amounts in candles and letters, the us postal inspection service has seen it all. Basak says those using bogus names and intentionally misspelling addresses aren't fooling anyone either. "All criminals try to protect their identity in one way or another and that almost makes them more identifiable by seeing that we look at the handwriting at the source states, we look at the addresses of origin and also the target addresses," he explained.

Authorities are actually able to track the package records and confirm the actual address the parcels were sent from. "They're just identifying themselves by doing so, but we've also had people use legitimate addresses as well," Basak added.

Basak says combating drugs coming through the mail wouldn't be possible without the help of local and federal law enforcement agencies including drug sniffing canines that help alert authorities to the illegal shipments. "They're trying to be creative, but that's good information for us because that means we're doing our jobs because they're trying harder to get it hard and we're going to alter our methods and we're going to reach and look for new ways to combat it and try to change with them," he said.

For those who are caught, they can expect a federal prison sentence of between five and thirty years behind bars without the possibility of parole. Basak says it's the risk drug traffickers take when they choose to use the U.S. Postal Service as a means to transport illegal drugs to Guam.

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