Friday, October 10, 2008

The ice-man cometh?

Conspiracy? Really? Is the Drug Enforcement Agency's intrusive search of Chinese passengers an effort "to discredit the CNMI government's claim of ability to monitor the entry of Chinese and Russian tourists"?

I thought the Administration's lawsuit shouldn't have any effect on federal agencies. Not so, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial now says:

"This is a conspiracy. We're in the middle of discussing and negotiating allowing Chinese and Russian tourists to come into the CNMI under a visa waiver [program], then all of a sudden this occurred."

Were the searches of all Chinese passengers over-the-top? I think so. In fact, in more than an hour of internet searching I couldn't find news about a similar mass pat-down. That hardly proves anything, but it's an indication.

Still, everyone on Saipan, Rota and Tinian knows crystal methamphetamine is a threat to the community. They also know China is the predominant source of 'ice'.

Was the DEA heavy-handed? Sure, but that's the way the agency operates. It's bound to hurt tourism to some extent with such operations. They should find some middle ground.

But that's hardly a conspiracy.

I just scooted over to the Marianas Variety The commenters don't seem to agree with the Governor.


Lil' Hammerhead said...

I searched for an incident as well and came up empty-handed. Actually, I figured they did do this once in a blue moon.. but to an inaugural flight, which is usually very ceremonial, with passengers that include dignitaries, and reciept at the airport by officials and dignitaries?

I'll bet there has never once been an incident where the DEA has carried out a raid, in the fashion it has, on an inaugural flight.

KAP said...

DEA is notorious for encouraging cowboys. Maybe someone thought he'd get a notch on his six-shooter. I still don't think it's any grand conspiracy.

SteeleOnSaipan said...

It's unfortunate but for all the folks who've been screaming for federalization of this and that, welcome to your future.

I think Lil's correct, I've never heard of anything like this happening either. Depending on what you define as conspiracy, I wouldn't knock the idea so fast.

Maybe I'm sheltered but I've been around the area 14 years and have never seen ice or known anyone using it, to my knowledge anyway. But I know lots of persons whose livelihood relies on tourism. So which is worse, some ice users in our society or Nazi-style police tactics that'll kill our tourism industry?

KAP said...

Obviously nobody's going to advertise ice use--not for long anyway-- but at one time it was epidemic here. Maybe I'm more sheltered now, but I think it's better. I've known people who have destroyed their lives.

There are signs if you look for them, and as a bartender for years I look. Users are unpredictable and sometimes violent.

I've never had much use for the DEA or its tactics. They went completely over the edge on this one. It will be interesting to see how they deal with this.