How much do we put up with?
Back when I was a reporter for the now defunct Cable News, I covered the case in March 1986 where a young man’s body was found stabbed 40 times. His head was found in another village. Arrested, tried and convicted for this gruesome crime was one Irvin Ibanez. It happened after a night of drinking in which the horseplay clearly got way too rough. The jury convicted Ibanez of aggravated murder, kidnapping and possession and use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.
After also being sentenced for being part of a quartet of inmates that killed a DOC prison guard and set his body on fire, Ibanez is now serving his life sentence in the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Fellow inmates include El Chapo, the infamous Mexican drug cartel kingpin, unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and two of the World Trade Center bombers.
Thirty-five years later, one Donovan Allan Chargualaf Ornellas has been arrested and charged with beheading 51-year-old Andrew Ray Castro. Ornellas reportedly told police that he had used crystal meth while with Castro. News reports say Ornellas told police he felt compelled to kill the wheelchair-bound Castro, who he claimed had endangered his family. No explanation was reported as to why Ornellas cut off his victim’s head. He recently pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect.
We already know that addiction to crystal meth causes people to commit crimes such as burglary, robbery, theft and human trafficking, etc. They need money to get their fix.
One would imagine though that it would take some doing to cut off another person’s head. It’s not like you could claim that the knife just slipped.
On the other hand, forcing a minor to engage in a sexual act, either as payment for a drug fix or because you owe someone for drugs - or for any reason, for that matter - is a different kind of evil.
Yet here we are. These crimes are happening in our beautiful tropical paradise. Only some things are not so beautiful if you look beneath the surface, are they?
So the question for those of us appalled by this latest episode of drug-induced heinousness is: How much more do we put up with regarding the importation and sale of this clearly damaging drug into our community, and the addiction to it by a growing number of our population?
Fighting drug abuse takes a community effort. In a recent online newspaper poll issued after the Castro beheading, over 90 percent of the people who responded clicked that they are “very concerned” about the drug related crimes happening on our island.
Really? If you are so concerned, then prove it.
If someone you know is dealing drugs, are you looking the other way because you or someone else that you know or care about is benefitting from the profits from the sale of those drugs? Or because you think it’s none of your business?
Back when I was teaching an English course at Guam Community College, I assigned my students to interview a friend or acquaintance about something important in the person’s life and then write about it. One student interviewed a former drug dealer who had gotten out of the business because he feared he was close to getting arrested. I asked my student if he had asked his subject how he felt about selling a product that was destroying people’s lives.
The student looked at me, clearly shocked. “Gosh miss, that’s such a personal question!”
It was indeed a tough, but legitimate, question, I told the student. I wouldn’t take off points if he didn’t ask it, but I told him it would make his paper a much more compelling read. After all, the whole idea was to write an interesting profile of someone.
He came back two days later and said, “Miss, I asked the question.”
“Well, what did he say?”
The student explained to me that his subject was initially mad. But then he revealed that no one around him ever complained about the dope money he was bringing in. They just never asked where it was coming from. The interviewee told my student that when he quit the business, those close to him were displeased that he wasn’t bringing in so much money any more.
Is the money really worth it? Is it worth looking the other way, knowing that you are taking part in a nefarious business that can permanently damage someone else’s life — or the lives of those around them?
Asking dealers this question is a moot point, because they’ve already made peace with selling their souls to the devil.
But what if your son or daughter, or one or more of their friends, or someone else that you care about ends up hooked? Because the drug trade works like any other business. In order to be profitable, you have to keep increasing your clientele. Sooner or later it will come back around to you, in one way or another.
Ti mamaigo’ si Yu’os, as the Chamorus say.
If you are really concerned about what the drug problem is doing to our community, then turn in a drug dealer. Either call the local police at 472-8911 or the feds at 472-7332.
Jayne Flores is the director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and a long-time journalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.