Thoughts on the ‘War on Ice’


I’m glad many of your readers found my last letter to be insightful as many have commented and asked for more thoughts on my part to fight this in different battlegrounds. Having a long history with not only the use of “ice,” I’ve seen the rampant growth at multiple facets and as such feel it is my duty to put focus on the errors of enforcement in dealing with the trafficking of this illicit drug. What I’m about to share requires law enforcement to re-evaluate its current approach and be open minded when it comes to changing strategies. I offer my constructive criticism as a means to actually make a difference and shift the balance of this war in our favor. I make such assertions only as my hypothesis and hope that it sheds light on why it seems policing efforts aren’t working as expected. The problem lies in what enforcement calls their “snitches, cooperating sources, and informants.”

While incarcerated I noticed quickly that there is no seriousness toward getting caught selling drugs. Those caught believe that all they have to do is “rat out” on someone else. They sit there calmly awaiting their respective (local or federal) handlers as they say “they are after the bigger fish.” I feel this is where the problem lies. The endless pursuit of the “bigger fish” has caused us to forget that the little fish are multiplying faster than we can count. It’s the little fish that are on our street corners selling to our kids. It’s the little fish who are trying to make their quotas, exchanging stolen items so that they can “pick up their next load.” Local and federal law enforcement have so many snitches they’ve lost count and they are now causing our epidemic.

There are serious problems with using such tactics in law enforcement. The following are the foreseen problems with such an approach:

1. By promising reduced sentences or “get out of jail cards,” you are soliciting information that can be flat out lies. I refer to the current Benavente and Igisomar perjury cases as examples of using jailhouse snitches.

2. There are existing laws both federal and local that prohibit the promising of reduced sentences to detainees in exchange for possible testimony. I can think of over a dozen inmates that flat out brag about their deals. This means that our legal system is severely flawed.

3. As your snitch or informant is known in the community, your use of such an individual is no longer needed thus adding to the number of non-rehabilitated felons walking about in our community. Are you not aware that by doing such you are basically putting a bull’s eye on the backs of such people as well as their families? We must look at the morality behind our actions and this does not exempt law enforcement.

4. The civil liability that can arise for sending innocent individuals to prison based on faulty testimony of snitches only creates further financial burden on our public coffers. I offer a book titled The Innocent Man written by John Grisham as a further read for those who want to see how this poses major risks to us as a community as we do not want to lock up innocent people.

In the field of education we are so obsessed with measuring things. We come up with things like standards and benchmarks. We do so to find out if we are really hitting our established goals. We are goal oriented and how we measure our successes are through phrases like, “We will reduce the number of drugs available in our community by December 2016.” How do we measure our successes, you might wonder? As with any business, they follow the simple principles of scarcity. What this means is that established prices are dictated by the laws of supply and demand. In this case the next phrase would come up with a jingle like “…as evidenced by the spike in street priced ice from $160 per gram to $700 per gram.”

In recent news, there was a major seizure of ice found entering the CNMI in the quantity of approximately 12 kilograms, as I understand it. This equates to about 24 lbs. Such a bust should immediately reflect on the street value of the drug in question. As I understand it, we were too busy celebrating the bust and not looking out for the signs that would indicate the impact of such a seizure. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe it was a gimme? Let you celebrate your accomplishment while the real shipment continues on its regular schedule. What I’m saying in a nutshell is that it might be a diversionary tactic. In order to really know, you should see a spike in prices of the product on the street. In this case, as I understand it, business went on as usual, being as cheap to acquire as ever.

I am reluctant to print the following sentence as I do not feel it appropriate to point a finger at any particular people, so I offer my apologies if anyone is offended but it is an actual statement made by others. I keep hearing the phrase while in prison, “They want the Chinese guys making it or bringing it in.” The problem with such an approach is that you keep sending out of prison the various snitches, expecting them to lead you to the mother lode. Why not be dynamic in your approach and draw them out? These people rely on your snitches as they are expendable. You take away their street level thugs (your snitches) and you force the wholesalers to become retailers, which I know for a fact they would not want as that would expose them to the elements. Your frontal assault has gotten you nowhere close to finding the source of the drugs, while the problem in the CNMI has grown from a simple fire to a blaze. The only way you can see whether things are working is to see that anticipated spike in the price of ice on CNMI streets. The reduction in the number of CW’s on island and active deportation of those foreigners caught would eventually heighten the fear in participating in illegal activity, thus giving us back manageable control of drugs on our shores. In a nutshell, we currently have laws that differentiate between possession and distribution. All we need to do is prosecute them expeditiously and not give a favor for a favor as it currently isn’t working for us!

I mean no offense to the tireless work being put in by our men in blue. As in many cases, orders do come from above. Our enforcement resonates just like military command, thus it may be difficult to effectuate changes from within. I don’t wear the badge, so point your finger at me if you like as it doesn’t matter to me as long as we take back our islands. If you would like further insight on this matter, please email me at I look forward to assisting you in developing a workable strategy of combating ice on our island.

Ross Manglona
As Lito, Saipan

Contributing Author

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