Meth seized from inbound passenger


The CNMI Customs and Biosecurity Division intercepted over 70 grams of methamphetamine or “ice” that an arriving passenger had tried to sneak in at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

According to a report from the division, Customs officers seized approximately 72.8 gross grams of crystal methamphetamine on a male passenger during a routine Customs and biosecurity clearance of arriving passengers at the airport.

In a previous interview with Customs officials, Saipan Tribune learned that the street value of methamphetamine in the CNMI is around $500 to $600 a gram right now, mainly because of tight supplies.

The Customs Biosecurity Division made the seizure with the assistance of law enforcement partners from the CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  

Because it is an open investigation, the male passenger has yet to be identified.

Customs officers reported that the male passenger arrived via United Airlines Flight 116 at approximately 6:25am and was examined for routine Customs clearance.  

Through the clearance process and the inspection of the passenger’s belongings, officers found two small clear plastic baggies containing the residue of a white crystalline substance inside a backpack.   A presumptive positive test was conducted on the residue, and it yielded a positive result for methamphetamine.

Customs officers inspected the man’s additional baggage, a duffel bag, and allegedly noticed a small white silica gel packet that appeared altered. Silica gel packets are packets used to absorb moisture to keep items dry.

Customs officers then opened the packet and observed white crystalline substance inside that also yielded positive for methamphetamine following a presumptive test.

In addition to the crystalline substance discovered in the man’s belongings, officers also discovered one clear medium-sized Ziploc baggie and one small clear Ziploc baggie containing white crystalline substance on the passenger himself.

This comes in the wake of recent drug seizures made by Customs. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, the division intercepted roughly over eight pounds of methamphetamine worth over $1 million at the CNMI’s ports of entry like the U.S. Postal Service, the Port of Saipan, and now the Saipan airport.

The most recent seizure happened last May 1, when Customs seized over two pounds of ice. The interception led to the discovery of a meth den in Papago.

The largest seizure this year was the interception of over 5 lbs of meth at the U.S. Post Office last March.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at
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