CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan and Guam Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho have jointly petitioned seeking High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area designations under the Hawaii HIDTA. The petitions were submitted on June 12, 2020, to the National Office of Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C.
The HIDTA program was created by Congress in accordance with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The program provides financial assistance, support, and law enforcement intelligence to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and territories operating in regions determined to be affected by drug trafficking, with the aim of reducing illegal drug trafficking and production.
“Fighting the drug crisis in the CNMI and Guam requires unified efforts at the local and federal levels,” said Manibusan. “Given Hawaii HIDTA designation, the CNMI and Guam petitioners will be able to rise above the challenges in the fight against drug importation, interdiction, and prosecution.”
Camacho said: “This time we recognized that working with the CNMI and Hawaii would be the most effective way of disrupting the flow of drugs into our islands. …Working with…Manibusan and [Hawaii HIDTA] executive Director Gary Yabuta on this petition was an important first step in a regional collaboration of local and federal law enforcement efforts.”
With limited resources and the islands’ proximity to Asian countries where drug use and manufacturing are rampant, both offices believe a HIDTA designation will magnify efforts in addressing drug trafficking and drug-related crimes. With the support and encouragement of Hawaii HIDTA, the attorneys general for the CNMI and Guam shared information and ideas on how to best approach our ambition in obtaining a HIDTA designation. A HIDTA designation under Hawaii will allow the CNMI and Guam and Hawaii to collaborate and share federal resources, including access to federal funds, provide training and share information to combat drug importation and distribution, reduce drug-related crimes, and increase enforcement efforts.
The petition was made with the support of CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres, Guam Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Joshua F. Tenorio, CNMI Senate President Victor B. Hocog, CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan, CNMI Public Safety Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero, CNMI Customs Service director Jose C. Mafnas, and Drug Court manager Edward P. Diaz. (PR)