Seized monies belong to CNMI

I will the first to thank the feds for catching “ice” dealers and I truly appreciate their work but I am writing this to respectfully ask the feds to reconsider their request to claim monies seized in the CNMI. I’m not contesting their right to ask for the money since they were the ones who caught the drug dealer and seized the money but that money is more like a “reward” to the feds for simply doing their job that they already have a budget for. I am saying the money seized actually came from the junkies of the CNMI who had preyed on other CNMI citizens to get the monies to pay for their “ice.” All of that money seized came from some of the poorest people in the CNMI and from criminal schemes, robberies, and theft against people and businesses in the CNMI.

The feds should seriously think about donating that money to help “victims of ‘ice’ crimes like the spouses and children of ice addicts, the drug court and the social and educational support services” who are fighting the “ice” epidemic in the CNMI.

Prevention is the best cure for this epidemic of “ice” use, not locking people up after they have already become addicted. Education is the “undisputed champion of social reforms” and has been the most important factor for improving society. The more people learn, know, and understand a phenomenon, the better off our human species become. We only need to reflect on how each new generation makes leaps of improvements. Heck, we finally learned the truth about marijuana and how it is helpful and not harmful, unlike the adverse vices of alcohol and tobacco. We are finally learning how to live with marijuana instead of locking people up.

Millions upon millions of drug money is being seized in the U.S. mainland every year. But instead of putting the money back in poverty-stricken areas from where most of that money came from, law enforcement and the feds gobble it all up. Create jobs so people won’t have to deal drugs just to make ends meet and social programs for prevention. This phenomenon of the feds taking the money is not a new thing but a “tradition” that really needs to change because the true challenge is prevention, not locking users up who get caught after they are hooked. We can never catch them all but we can bombard society with so much education and support that we can reach all the present and potential users of “ice.” Guam is now dealing with cocaine and “ice” and we are just a stone’s throw away, so the challenge is only going to increase. I’m praying heroin doesn’t show up; it is the worst of all.

I was so glad when they seized that “ice” that was worth over $4 million because the CNMI community was going to pay for every bit of it! If the feds truly need the money I can understand their request but I am hopeful they will reconsider putting the money back into the source from which it came—the CNMI community.

If the feds had all the right to the money, they wouldn’t ask the Drug Court so I think it would be very prudent in the future for our Drug Court to challenge (or) ask for the forfeited money so they can use it to disburse to victims like single parents, education institutions, support programs and services, and all related non-government organizations.

Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman, Saipan

Ambrose M. Bennett

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