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Senator says Guam has more crimes than the local police force can handle

Updated: Feb 20

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Guam Police Department has inadequate strength to respond to the island's rapidly increasing crimes that are mostly drug-related, according to Sen. Chris Duenas.

Citing GPD’s most recent Uniform Crime Reporting Program for 2021, Duenas said the number of drug-abuse violations jumped from 230 in 2017 to 880 in 2021. The number of violent crimes reported went from 369 in 2017 to 664 in 2021.

Chris Duenas

Seeking to fill the deficit in law enforcement manpower, Duenas today proposed a bill that would augment GPD's force by tapping other government agencies to form a body that would combat the drug epidemic on Guam.

Bill 250-37 would establish a Multi-Agency Unified Law Enforcement Group, to be known as MAULEG.

"Unlike a task force, MAULEG operates as a trigger, activating when law enforcement manpower falls below 70 percent," Duenas said. "It will bring together top-level agencies that will augment the lack of community policing with minimum manpower."

According to the Bureau of Statistics and Plan's drug control and violent crimes report released in October, drug abuse encompasses all violations of Guam’s drug laws. These are offenses such as unlawful possession, sale, use, growing and manufacturing of drugs.

"Crystal methamphetamine or “ice” continues to be the most commonly abused illegal drug on Guam, and it has been the prominent drug of choice on Guam over the past three decades," the report states.

Dueñas asked Sen. William Parkinson to continue to seek the $28 million in funding he said he would find, initially earmarked for a Tumon-focused task force to now be directed toward MAULEG.

Dueñas is also appealing to Attorney General Douglas Moylan, who noted millions of dollars of funding available from the opioid settlement as well as $200,000 he said would be made available.

"MAULEG’s mission is to disrupt the importation, sale, and distribution of narcotics on Guam, and will consist of law enforcement entities uniting together, targeting areas of concern," Duenas said.

The proposed multi-agency group would be composed of GPD, Post Commission, Fusion Center, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, AB Won Pat International Airport Authority, Port Authority of Guam, Department of Corrections, Department of Youth Affairs, Guam Homeland Security, Department of Revenue and Taxation, Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, Guam Visitors Bureau, and the Mayor's Council of Guam.

“The drug epidemic on Guam has stripped our community’s sense of public safety. MAULEG will reclaim the confidence and trust that our people had, while maintaining transparency within government. Let’s make Guam MAULEG again," Dueñas said.


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