Thursday, July 20, 2006

Senator Calls for Study of Habitual Drug Offender Registry

Senator Bill Diamond, D-Cumberland County, has submitted legislation to call for the study of a habitual drug offender registry, similar to Maine’s current sex offender registry. An Act to Study a Maine Habitual Drug Offender Registry asks the Legislature to direct the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to examine the creation of a registry aimed at helping families protect their children from repeat drug dealers. The registry would primarily consist of repeat offenders; drug dealers who after serving time for their first offense, continue to deal drugs. A special emphasis would be placed on drug dealers who dealt to minors.

According to information recently released from the Maine Department of Public Safety, crime has increased in Maine. Much of this increase can be attributed to drug abuse. According to Public Safety Commissioner Cantara, “2005 was the deadliest year in Maine for drug overdoses and a rash of bank, pharmacy and convenience store robberies were fueled by the demand for money to feed growing drug habits.”

More people died from drug overdoses than car crashes in Maine last year; 190 overdoses compared to 169 motor vehicle deaths. Notable increases were also found in the number of cocaine and methamphetamine arrests; 266 in 2005 compared to 237 in 2004 for cocaine and 31 arrests for methamphetamine versus 16 arrests in 2004.

The data was released only days after 6.5 pounds of cocaine were seized from a car in Portland. After a six month investigation conducted by the Portland Office of the Maine Drug Enforcement Administration, three arrests were made outside the Concord Trailways Bus terminal. The organized group had been transporting kilogram quantities of cocaine from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, where it was cooked into crack cocaine and sold on the street. This group had been using women to transport the drug via commercial bus lines.


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