The leaders of six law-enforcement agencies recently inked an agreement to reestablish and reorganize a joint-drug-prevention-task force. Drugs, specifically ice, have continued to negatively impact the CNMI. Agencies are seeing more cases of drug use especially in younger people, an increase in property crimes linked to the habit, and other crimes. The goal of the joint task force is to stop drugs from coming in through the CNMI’s ports.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Clement R. Bermudes, Department of Corrections Commissioner Anthony C. Torres, Secretary of Finance Tracy B. Norita, Customs and Biosecurity Director Jose C. Mafnas, Executive Director for the Commonwealth Ports Authority Christopher S. Tenorio represented by Ports Police Chief Juan T. Dela Cruz, and Secretary of Commerce Francisco D. Cabrera met with Governor Arnold I. Palacios and Lieutenant Governor David M. Apatang on Wednesday morning to commemorate the joint collaboration. All agencies present have agreed to work together to tackle the drug problem in the CNMI.
Lt. Governor Apatang emphasized that not only would this collaboration help those in the CNMI affected by drugs, but its “success is critical for the safety of our tourists as well.” Governor Arnold I Palacios stressed that the task force should not “limit themselves to the enforcement part of it, but also look at the drug problem holistically.” At the conclusion of the meeting, DPS Commissioner Bermudes noted the importance of rehabilitation saying, “Let’s work on curing the demand so that the supply gets cut off.”