Customs seized more marijuana than meth in FY 2020

Posted on Nov 12 2020


The Division of Customs seized more marijuana than crystal meth at the CNMI ports of entry in fiscal year 2020.

According to Customs’ fiscal year 2020 annual report provided to Saipan Tribune Friday, they seized 1,492 grams of marijuana and 1,072 grams of crystal meth last fiscal year. Customs also confiscated 23 grams of THC powder and 356 pieces of other controlled substances.

On counterfeit items, the division intercepted 3,420 items of apparel/clothing, 230 pairs of footwear, and 151 pieces of purses, bags, wallets, and other items.

On undeclared or undervalued items, Customs intercepted 419 apparel/clothing, 85 electronics/accessories, 585 cosmetic items, 3,466 bottles of liquor, including beer and wine, 2,305 packs of cigarettes, and 5,800 pieces of antibiotics and other pills.

That same fiscal year, Customs collected $38,312,876 in revenue through excise (duty) tax, container tax, beautification tax, and others, including penalties, that were collected at the ports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

The amount collected on Saipan totaled $37,809,886, while $91,735 was collected on Tinian, and $411,254 on Rota.

In fiscal year 2019, Customs collected $46,802,410 on Saipan, $85,983 on Tinian, and $443,076 on Rota, for a total of $47,331,470.

At a press briefing Friday at Customs’ conference room, Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig and Customs director Jose Mafnas Sr. disclosed that, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, most sources of illicit drugs, particularly crystal meth, are the U.S. mainland and not China, and are smuggled into the CNMI through mails and packages at the U.S. Post Office.

Atalig, Mafnas, and Customs planner and public information officer Reina C. Camacho also discussed Customs’ interception of over 300 grams of meth or “ice” and other illicit drugs at the post office in Chalan Kanoa in the past 45 days.

They said cocaine and LSD were the other illicit drugs that were smuggled via mail.

Mafnas said they have been intercepting illegal drugs, but just they did not call a media conference because the investigations were not done yet.

Camacho said they intercepted 700 grams or almost 2 lbs of crystal meth last January. “So at least every year, Customs has intercepted crystal meth,” she said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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