Saturday, November 10, 2007

Drugs in paradise

From the Kaua'i Garden Island Newspaper Opinion section today, 11/9/07

Drugs in paradise

I am involved with drug prevention at a half dozen law enforcement agencies. Based on my experience, we are about to open the floodgates to drug traffickers via the superferry. While it's difficult to transport drugs on the airplanes, the Superferry will provide an unfettered conduit for transportation of major quantities of drugs both to and from Kaua'i. While there has never been a confirmed meth lab on Kaua'i, there are dozens on neighboring islands. Wake up, Kaua'i!

Having recognized this two years ago, we had a conference call on the matter. In attendance was a Superferry executive, a KPD officer, a county council member, and a representative from DOT. I stated my concerns:

1) Kaua'i is in deep trouble regarding drug use and distribution.

2) KPD has neither the resources or training to combat the increased trafficking from the new Superferry.

3) Wanting to be part of the solution, I offered two trained drug search dogs, and full-time training for two officers — a $60,000 cost. In my estimation, it would take four full-time officers to inspect the cars en route, so this was a matching offer. They cannot be visually inspected for hidden drugs, but dogs can do the trick.

We were thanked politely for our offer, and never heard a word again from the Superferry executives.

Fastforward two years:

a) Kauai has had the largest marijuana farm drug bust in the state history, over 6,000 plants

b) 4,000 grams of meth have been confiscated

c) 6,000 grams of cocaine have been confiscated

d ) KPD is still understaffed by 20 officers, and has no drug dogs

And no action plan by the Superferry to stop the imminent flow of deadly drugs to Kaua'i. An inconvenient truth, conveniently forgotten.

Let me put these drug amounts into context. Assuming only 10 percent of drugs are confiscated, then the Kaua'i usage has been 100,000 grams, or 2 million lines of meth/coke. If a user averaged 2 lines/day for the past two years, that means we may have 1,250 users on Kaua'i — 2 percent of the resident population. This is a major problem.

AGAIN, wanting to be part of the solution, I will donate FOUR drug dogs and training for FOUR officers to inspect cars while being transported on the Superferry. We will bear the current cost of $125,000, IF the program is in place BEFORE the Superferry starts up again. No more excuses. I challenge the Superferry to institute an effective drug policy for the sake of all the children of Kaua'i, before the Superferry becomes the SUPER-DRUG-CONDUIT. The Superferry injunction should NOT be removed UNTIL there is an effective drug policy in place.

Mr. Garibaldi, as an Admiral in the US Navy, you swore to protect the citizens of the finest country in the world. Now as a civilian, you still have that responsibility, as do we all. We can not trade a boat for lives. Please don't tell me how much this will cost per week — the investment funding is in place, OUR tax dollars have paid/guaranteed $200 million of this project, and you were warned of this problem two years ago. I am not making a statement for or against the superferry. However, I AM staunchly antidrug, pro-children, and pro-Kaua'i.

Your Honourable Judge Joseph Cardoza: I humbly implore you to put the safety of the citizens of Hawai'i above the financial interests of a business enterprise — an enterprise subsidized by our very own state and federal tax dollars.

Larry Bowman