Drug Taskforce dissolved, new narcotics agency created
The Belau Drug Enforcement Task Force (BDETF) was dissolved Tuesday following the issuance of a presidential executive order that created the new Narcotics Enforcement Agency (NEA) under Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
Executive Order No. 394 established a new agency under the Ministry of Justice, as a result the duties and role of the BDETF has been transferred to the NEA. [restrict]
The NEA is now a permanent agency within the MOJ but separate from the Bureau of Public Safety (BPS).
“While the Task Force has made substantial progress in the fight against illegal drugs, the reality is that more, and even more focused work is needed in order to combat and successfully curtail illegal drugs operations, activity and use in the Republic,” the EO stated.
On Nov. 4, 2015, President Remengesau has directed an immediate crackdown on drugs and their dealers after reports of rising substance abuse problem in Palau.
Remengesau created the BDETF as the agency to lead the campaign against drugs.
Notable work of the BDETF formerly headed by former BPS Director Ismael Aguon, was the arrest of Junior Larry Hillbroom last year.
Hillbroom, heir of multi-millionaire Larry Hillbloom of DHL, was arrested after he was implicated in the trafficking of controlled substance to Palau from the Philippines. A seizure of 160 grams of methamphetamine from two women at Palau airport led to his arrest.
After one year in operation, Belau Drug Enforcement Taskforce headed by Aguon had 53 drug cases filed in court, 23 resulted in convictions, 3 were dismissed and the rest are pending before the court. [/restrict]