A proposed bill seeks to allocate $300,000 to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Finance to supplement the drug enforcement efforts of the two agencies.
Introduced by Rep. Edwin K. Propst (Ind-Saipan), House Bill 19-48 proposes that the additional funds come from the Commonwealth Alien Deportation Fund, created under Public Law 10-01.
H.B. 19-48 was recently introduced during a House session on Rota on Thursday.
Propst earlier said the use of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” continues to be a growing problem in the CNMI, reaching “epidemic proportions within our villages and borders.”
Aside from its own budget, DPS has traditionally been getting funds from the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, a grant used to inhibit any criminal activity.
But the JAG funding has decreased over the years—from $1 million to about $280,000—and DPS now only gets $50,000 out of this fund for fiscal year 2015.
This substantial decrease reportedly led drug enforcement agencies to have funding problems.
According to Propst’s proposed bill, $200,000 will be allocated to the Special Operations Section (narcotics unit) of the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a sub-agency under the DPS.
The proposed fund is expected to be used for intelligence operations such as confidential informant services, evidence, and information, as well as technical equipment, including field drug identification kits.
The training of operatives and CNMI officers to Guam are also expected to be funded.
The remaining $100,000 is proposed to be allocated to operations of the Customs Enforcement Branch (K-9 unit) of the Customs Division under the Department of Finance.
These operations include confidential informant services, evidence, and information, technical equipment purchase, and training activities.
Public Law 10-01, or the Alien Deportation Law, was created to assist in the investigation, apprehension, detention, and deportation of illegal aliens. Then governor Froilan C. Tenorio signed it into law on Feb. 28, 1996.
The alien deportation fund was established by taking $25 from every initial application fee and from every renewal fee for nonresident worker permits. It is a dedicated fund in the CNMI Treasury.