UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
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UNCLASSIFIED PMS 320 PMS 505 UNCLASSIFIED PMS 377 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
This product was prepared by DEA’s Strategic Intelligence Section. Comments and questions may be addressed to the Office of Intelligence Programs at [email protected] For media/press inquiries call (202) 307-7977. DFN-701-03--Destroy 2 years after issuance or when the DEA Intelligence Report is superseded or obsolete.
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UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
Letter of Dedication |2 Letter from the Acting Administrator |3 Executive Summary |4 Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids |9 Heroin |21 Controlled Prescription Drugs |31 Methamphetamine |43 Cocaine |59 Marijuana |77 New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) |91 Transnational Criminal Organizations |99 OCONUS and Tribal Threats |111 Illicit Finance |121 Gangs |125 Appendix A: Additional Figures |141 Appendix B: Acronym Glossary |144 TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE
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LETTER OF DEDICATION
The 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) is dedicated to the memory of DEA Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist Kirsten Walters. Kirsten directly managed the writing, editing, vetting, and release of the NDTA from 2016 through 2019 before she sadly passed away earlier this year. Kirsten’s constant energy, relentless optimism, and calm demeanor in the face of stress were all key factors in the success of DEA publishing the NDTA every year. Moreover, her caring disposition, steady guidance, sense of humor, and ever-present smile made Kirsten a wonderful supervisor, colleague, mentor, leader, and friend. We miss her dearly and cannot thank her enough for all she has done to enrich both the DEA as an organization and the lives of all those who were fortunate enough to know her.
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LETTER FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR
I am proud to present the 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA). Produced in partnership with local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, and integrating the most recently available reporting from law enforcement, intelligence, and public health agencies, this annual assessment provides in-depth strategic drug-related intelligence to inform counterdrug policies, establish priorities, and allocate resources. The global trafficking of illicit drugs poses a grave national security threat to our citizens. DEA works closely with all of our partners around the country and the world to protect our communities from violent criminal organizations and their networks. In every corner of America and nearly 70 countries overseas, DEA personnel are on the ground working hand-in-hand with law enforcement and public health officials to combat transnational organized crime and serve communities in need. Although the final statistics are still pending, this year we’re hopeful we will see the first decrease in drug overdose deaths in 30 years, with the largest decline from controlled prescription drugs. This success is the direct result of the work by DEA and its partners to reduce opioid quotas, educate the medical community and reduce prescription rates, and to safely and securely remove unwanted and unused controlled substances from circulation. I want to thank all of our partners for their contributions to the NDTA, which is among the most important and valuable reports we produce. We at DEA look forward to collaborating on future initiatives that will help protect our public health and national security interests, at home and abroad.
Uttam Dhillon Acting Administrator Drug Enforcement Administration
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The 2019 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA)a is a comprehensive strategic assessment of the threat posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of both licit and illicit drugs. The report combines federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement reporting; public health data; open source reporting; and intelligence from other government agencies to determine which substances and criminal organizations represent the greatest threat to the United States.
National Drug Threat Assessment Scope and Methodology The 2019 NDTA is a comprehensive assessment of the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs. The report provides strategic analysis of the domestic drug situation during 2018, based upon the most recent law enforcement, intelligence, and public health data available for the period. It also considers data and information from 2017 and earlier, when appropriate, to provide the most accurate assessment possible to policymakers, law enforcement authorities, and intelligence officials.
In preparation of this report, a full year of data is collected for each drug category by DEA Intelligence Research Specialists. DEA Intelligence Research Specialists considered quantitative data from various sources (seizures, investigations, arrests, drug purity or potency, and drug prices; law enforcement surveys; laboratory analyses; and interagency production and cultivation estimates) and qualitative information (subjective views of individual agencies on drug availability, information on the involvement of organized criminal groups, information on smuggling and transportation trends, and indicators of changes in smuggling and transportation methods).
Illicit drugs, and the transnational and domestic criminal organizations that traffic them, continue ot represent significant threats to public health, law enforcement, and national security in the United States. The opioid threat (controlled prescription drugs, synthetic opioids, and heroin) continues at ever-increasing epidemic levels, affecting large portions of the United States. Meanwhile, the stimulant threat (methamphetamine and cocaine) is worsening and becoming more widespread as traffickers continue to sell increasing amounts outside of each drugs’ traditional markets. New psychoactive substances (NPS) remain challenging and the domestic marijuana situation is evolving as state-level medical and recreational legalization continues. Drug poisoning deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States. In 2017b, drug poisoning deaths reached their
a. Analyst Note: The information in this report is current as of August 2019. b. Analyst Note: 2017 overdose-related death statistics is the latest available official data.
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highest recorded level and, every year since 2011, have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide. In 2017, approximately 192 people died every day from drug poisoning (see Appendix A: Figure A2).
Fentanylc and Other Synthetic Opioidsd: Fentanyl and other highly potent synthetic opioids— primarily sourced from China and Mexico—continue to be the most lethal category of illicit substances misused in the United States. Fentanyl continues to be sold as counterfeit prescriptions pills as traffickers—wittingly or unwittingly—are increasingly selling fentanyl to users both alone and as an adulterant, leading to rising fentanyl-involved deaths. Fentanyl suppliers will continue to experiment with other new synthetic opioids in an attempt to circumvent new regulations imposed by the United States and China.
Heroin: Heroin-related overdose deaths remain at high levels in the United States, due to continued use and availability, while fentanyl is increasingly prevalent in highly profitable white powder heroin markets. Mexico remains the primary source of heroin available in the United States according to all available sources of intelligence, including law enforcement investigations and scientific data. Further, high-levels of sustained opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Mexico allow Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) to continue to supply high-purity, low-cost heroin.
Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs): CPDs are still responsible for the most drug-involved overdose deaths and are the second most commonly abused substances in the United States. Traffickers continue to manufacture and distribute counterfeit CPDs often-containing fentanyl and other opioids along with non-opioid illicit drugs in attempts to expand their customer base and increase profits. Overall diversion incidents continue to decline; however, CPDs lost in transit or diverted by medical professionals remains a prevalent threat across the United States.
Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine remains widely available, with traffickers attempting to create new customers by expanding into new, non-traditional methamphetamine markets such as the Northeast, or other user bases with new product forms. Most of the methamphetamine available in the United States is produced in Mexico and smuggled across the Southwest Border (SWB). Domestic production occurs at much lower levels than in Mexico and seizures of domestic methamphetamine laboratories have declined steadily for many years while overall supply has increased.
Cocaine: Cocaine is a resurgent threat in the United States as domestic indicators—such as seizures, availability, and overdose deaths—remain at elevated levels. Cocaine-involved overdose
c. Unless explicitly stated, the term “fentanyl,” when used in this report, refers to clandestinely manufactured and illegally distributed fentanyl and not to pharmaceutical or “licit” fentanyl. d. In this document, the phrase “synthetic opioid” refers to only those substances, which are classified as opioids and have no plant-based material in their production (i.e. fentanyl, fentanyl-related substances, and other novel opioids) and therefore does not include heroin.
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deaths continue to exceed established benchmarks, primarily due to the continued spread of fentanyl into the cocaine supply. In addition, coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia, the primary source of supply for cocaine in the United States, remain at high levels.
Marijuana: Marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. The nature of the marijuana threat continues to evolve, as more states vote on referendums and initiatives as well as pass legislation regarding the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana. Most states that have legalized marijuana have placed no limits on Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency of marijuana or its associated concentrate products. Consequently, THC potency continues to increase, as does demand. Mexico remains the most significant foreign source for marijuana available in the United States, but domestic marijuana production and availability continues to rise. Black market marijuana production by local, national, and transnational criminal trafficking organizations continues to increase, predominantly in states that have legalized marijuana.
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS): The number of NPS varieties continues to increase worldwide, but remains a limited threat in the United States compared to other widely available illicit drugs. China remains the primary source for the synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones trafficked into the United States. The availability, popularity, and the public health threat of specific NPS varieties in the United States changes every year, as traffickers experiment to circumvent legal restrictions and discover more potent, and therefore popular, substances.
Mexican TCOs: Mexican TCOs remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other groups are currently positioned to challenge them. The Sinaloa Cartel maintains the most expansive footprint in the United States, while the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) has become the second-most dominant domestic presence over the past few years. Although drug-related murders in Mexico continue to reach epidemic proportions, U.S.-based Mexican TCO members still generally refrain from domestic inter-cartel conflicts, resulting in minimal spillover violence in the United States.
Colombian TCOs: Colombian TCOs’ control over the production and supply of cocaine to Mexican TCOs allows Colombian TCOs to maintain an indirect influence on U.S. drug markets. Meanwhile, on- going disputes between the Government of Colombia and the remnants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other Armed Criminal Groups continue to, at times, exacerbate the problem of sustained high-levels of illicit coca cultivation in Colombia. Smaller Colombian TCOs still directly supply wholesale quantities of cocaine and heroin to Northeast and East Coast drug markets.
Dominican TCOs: Dominican TCOs dominate the mid-level distribution of cocaine and white powder heroin in major drug markets throughout the Northeast while also engaging in some street-level sales in the region. Dominican TCOs work in collaboration with foreign suppliers to ship cocaine and heroin directly to the United States from Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Family members
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and friends of Dominican nationality or American citizens of Dominican descent comprise the majority of Dominican TCOs, insulating them from outside threats.
Asian TCOs: Due to China’s currency control restrictionse, Asian TCOs have taken advantage of the availability of U.S. dollars belonging to Mexican and Colombian TCOs in the United States by acquiring the U.S. dollars in exchange for the payment of Colombian/Mexican pesos in the respective drug source country. TCOs launder drug proceeds through a variety of means, the primary being a hybrid of trade-based money laundering (TBML) and the black market peso exchange (BMPE). Asian TCOs continue to operate indoor marijuana grow houses in states with legal personal-use or medical marijuana laws. Asian TCOs also remain the primary 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) source of supply in U.S. markets, trafficking MDMA from China or clandestine laboratories in Canada into the United States.
Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) and Tribal Threats: Cocaine is the principal drug threat in the Caribbean followed by marijuana, with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) serving as major transshipment points for both drugs. Methamphetamine and marijuana remain the top two drugs of choice in Guam, with cocaine being a rising threat as an alternative to methamphetamine due to changing prices. The drug threat in Indian Country varies by region and is influenced by the illicit drugs available in major cities near the reservations. Methamphetamine and marijuana remain the most widely abused substances in Indian Country.
Illicit Finance: U.S. drug sales continue to account for tens of billions of dollars in illicit proceeds annually. These proceeds change hands multiple times across various levels of the illegal drug market. Bulk cash smuggling seizure amounts remain at lower levels than in previous years, indicating that TCOs may be employing different methods of moving monetary value through the financial system. While traditional methods of laundering money are still the most widely used, the advent of 21st century methods may increase the complexity of anti-money laundering enforcement activities in the future.
Gangs: National and neighborhood-based street gangs and prison gangs remain the dominant distributors of illicit drugs through street-sales in their respective territories throughout the country. Struggle for control of lucrative drug trafficking territories continues to fuel the majority of the street- gang violence facing local communities. Meanwhile, some street gangs are working with rival gangs to increase both gangs’ drug revenues, while individual members of assorted street gangs have profited by forming relationships with friends and family associated with Mexican cartels.
e. China currently has a $50,000 annual foreign exchange limit for its citizens.
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FENTANYL AND OTHER SYNTHETIC OPIOIDS
Overview Figure 1. Field Division Reporting of Fentanyl Availability in CY 2018 and Comparison Fentanyl remains the primary driver behind to CY 2017 the ongoing opioid crisis, with fentanyl involved in more deaths than any other illicit drug. Availability Availability Field Division During Compared to Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are widely CY 2018 CY 2017 available throughout the Great Lakes, Midwest, Atlanta Field Division High More and the Northeast areas of the United States. Caribbean Field Division Low More The two primary sources of the fentanyl are Chicago Field Division High More Mexico and China, where drug traffickers Dallas Field Division Moderate More produce fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in Denver Field Division Low More High clandestine operations. Fentanyl is smuggled Detroit Field Division Stable El Paso Field Division High More into the United States across the SWB as well Houston Field Division Moderate More as through international mail and express Los Angeles Field Division High More consignment shipping services, primarily in Louisville Field Division High Stable powder and counterfeit pill form, indicating Miami Field Division High More clandestinely produced fentanyl as opposed to New England Field Division High More pharmaceutical fentanyl. Increases in fentanyl- New Jersey Field Division Moderate More New Orleans Field Division Stable More containing counterfeit pills and related fentanyl New York Field Division High More pill pressing operations in addition to other novel Omaha Field Division Moderate More preparations demonstrate traffickers’ continued Philadelphia Field Division High More efforts to expand the fentanyl user base. Phoenix Field Division High More San Diego Field Division High More San Francisco Field Moderate More Availability Division Fentanyl availability was high and increasing Seattle Field Division High More across the majority of the United States in St. Louis Field Division High More High More 2018, highlighting the rapid spread of the drug. Washington Field Division Source: DEA For Calendar Year (CY) 2018, 15 of 23 Field Divisions (FDs) (see Appendix A: Figure A1) available. This illustrates that, although fentanyl (65 percent) indicated fentanyl availability was is trafficked across the SWB and is commonly “high” and 21 of 23 FDs (91 percent) indicated seized in the Southwestern United States, the fentanyl was “more” available compared to Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast regions 2017 (see Figure 1). The Caribbean, Dallas, maintain the greatest availabilities of fentanyl. Denver, Houston, New Jersey, Omaha, and San The total number of fentanyl reports submitted Francisco FDs did not rank fentanyl as highly to forensic laboratories continues to increase
UNCLASSIFIED 9 Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 10 is a65percent increaseover the34,204 InformationLaboratory System (NFLIS),which submitted toreports theNationalForensic 2). In2017, therewere 56,530fentanyl of fentanyl intheUnited States (seeFigure significantly, demonstratingthe availability
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 3.State-level Fentanyl 2017 Reports, Source: DEA Figure 2.Forensic ofFentanyl, Reports Laboratory 2005–2017 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED heroin, whichrepresented 9.93percent ofthe comparison, there were 157,055 of reports 3.57 percent For ofthetop 25drugreports. fentanyl rankedoverall fifth andrepresented most frequently identifieddrugsinNFLIS, submitted in2016.reports Ofthetop 25 Massachusetts, New Ohio, Pennsylvania, Western United States. lessor presenceinthe the United States witha regionsof Northeast the GreatLakes and dominant presencein to show fentanyl’s in NFLIScontinue State-level reports the U.S. drugmarket. significant presencein heroin maintainsa continues to increase, fentanyl availability Therefore, while top 25drugreports. Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 11 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Fentanyl represented nearly three-quarters of represented Fentanyl opioids, synthetic reportsall state of fentanyl, NFLIS in 2017, and precursor chemicals to of the continued higher availability showing opioids synthetic other to drug compared the second (see Figure 4). Carfentanil was most reported opioid overtaking synthetic suggesting carfentanil (third), fentanyl furanyl and 2017. 2016 increased between availability by is largely driven Carfentanil’s availability percent Ohio’s submissions, which reported 77 reports of carfentanil in 2017. of all state-level Signature Profiling Fentanyl DEA’s to According seized and analyzed in (FSPP), fentanyl Program 5.3 percent averaged in 2018 States the United 722 pure, based on analysis of approximately representing 929 exhibits powder fentanyl fentanyl kilograms. FSPP analysis indicated could range from States the United in available pure depending on 96.8 percent to percent 0.1 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: DEA Figure 4. Nationwide Reports of Fentanyl, Synthetic Opioids, and Precursor and Opioids, Synthetic 2017 Chemicals, Reportsof Fentanyl, 4. Nationwide Figure Overlap between the fentanyl market and the market the fentanyl between Overlap even remain limited appears to cocaine market the country across report enforcement as law Two drugs mixed. more instances of the two reports with the most fentanyl of the states York—also and New in NFLIS in 2017—Ohio the most that submitted with states overlapped between cocaine reports, with Ohio overlapping be and cocaine. This may heroin, fentanyl, increased a combination of the overall due to and States of cocaine in the United availability the significant co-occurrence of cocaine and deaths. in overdose fentanyl York, and New Jersey had the most fentanyl fentanyl had the most Jersey and New York, 3). (see Figure reports in NFLIS in 2017 Jersey and New Ohio, Pennsylvania, Moreover, with the most states among the five were This further reportsheroin in NFLIS in 2017. the between the continued overlap emphasizes market. and the fentanyl market heroin Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 12 percent of samples examined. only determine theroute inapproximately one samples). Theprevious methodology could fentanyl synthetic route (>65percent ofcurrent researchers cannow routinely identifythe A new methodology recentlydeveloped by DEA laboratories. samples submitted to STRL from DEAregional U.S. market sharebut,rather, isasnapshot of purposes. FSPPdataisnot intended to reflect seizures andlinkfor intelligence (STRL) on Laboratory give in-depthreporting developed at the SpecialTesting andResearch the United States. Analyticalmethodologies obtained from seizuresmadethroughout on fentanyl andfentanyl-related exhibits in-depthchemicalanalyses The FSPPperforms Program DEA’s Fentanyl SignatureProfiling
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 5.Fentanyl 2014 Combination Reports, –2017 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED substance infentanyl exhibits tested by forensic astheonlycontrolledmost commonlyobserved According to NFLISdata, in2017, fentanyl was fentanyl ratherthanTCOs inMexico. primarily responsiblefor themixingofheroin and and retail levels insidetheUnited States are trafficking organizations(DTOs) attheregional percent oftheexhibits examined; indicatingdrug exhibits, fentanyl was mixed withheroin in32 by weight ofthepowders examined. Across all seizures accounted for approximately 16 percent fentanyl/heroinwholesale (typically≥1kg) than ten percent pure.DEA’s FSPPreported purity, with exhibits onaverage testing atless seized inlarger, bulkquantities withmuchlower into theUnited States from Mexico istypically By comparison, fentanyl trafficked overland purities commonlytesting above 90percent. typically seizedinsmallerquantities with the fentanyl shippeddirectlyfrom Chinais and Border Protection indicates (CBP)reporting the source ofthefentanyl. DEAandCustoms Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 13 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Trafficking Source: Arizona High Intensity Figure 6. Fentanyl Resembling Black Resembling 6. Fentanyl Figure Heroin Tar Use States use remains high in the United Fentanyl the ongoing to and is a major contributor The high deaths. epidemic of drug overdose and powerful of fentanyl effects potency and die in overdose cause users to continue to Disease for high numbers. The Centers record (CDC) reported a 47 and Prevention Control opioid-involved increase in synthetic percent 28,466 to deaths in 2016 19,413 deaths from present opioids were Synthetic deaths in 2017. deaths than overdose in more drug-involved the second consecutive illicit drug for other any substances, such as tramadol, While other year. opioid category, are included in the synthetic for the synthetic is chiefly responsible fentanyl deaths reported in this category. opioid-involved deaths continue to overdose Fentanyl-involved and Midwest, be highest in the Great Lakes, (see Northeast States regions of the United Virginia, Ohio, New West Figure 7). In 2017, Maryland,Hampshire, and Massachusetts UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED laboratories across the country, continuing the country, across laboratories Fentanyl years. the trend of the past several the most commonly observed was with heroin fentanyl times as many nine mixture, with over and fentanyl mixtures identified as and heroin 2016 Between cocaine mixtures (see Figure 5). the number of reports of fentanyl and 2017, the number percent; increased 97 and heroin increased 74 and cocaine of reports of fentanyl reports and the number of percent; of fentanyl percent. increased 173 with methamphetamine In August 2018, Tucson Police Department Police of in possession an individual (PD) officers arrested Tucson 2018, In August and the other of methamphetamine .75 grams one containing wrapped bindles, individually two High Intensity The Arizona with a vinegar odor. substance tar-like a dark .52 grams of containing substances both submitted Force Task Alliance Narcotics Counter Area (HIDTA) Drug Trafficking analysis PD Crime Laboratory for the Tucson to was the black tar substance and identified that Although with sugar. mixed most likely fentanyl, mixed been seizures of fentanyl there have is the first this known with black tar heroin, PD Crime Laboratory of the Tucson submission to For resemble black tar heroin. made to fentanyl fentanyl total out of 1,283 in CY 2018, context, of “black tar” exhibits analyzed 14 STRL exhibits, heroin. contained five Of those, fentanyl. Fentanyl Resembling Black Tar Heroin Identified in Tucson in Identified Heroin Black Tar Resembling Fentanyl Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 14 g. f. 2019,as ofJanuary 46states forfrom Safe ThePartnership Medicines(PSM), drugs, suchasalprazolam.According to research and hydrocodone, andother popularprescription popular prescriptionopioids,suchasoxycodone and pillpressesto produce pillsthatresemble country. Fentanyl traffickers use fentanyl powder be associated withoverdose deathsacross the Fentanyl-containing counterfeit pillscontinueto involved overdose deaths. had thehighestage-adjusted rates offentanyl- deaths inatleast29 counterfeit pillswere responsible for overdose 2015. thatfentanyl-containing PSMreported fentanyl-containing counterfeit pillssince
York, Carolina, Ohio,Oklahoma,Oregon,Pennsylvania, North SouthCarolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,andWashington. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia,Idaho,Illinois,Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana,Nevada, New Maryland, Hampshire, New Mexico, New According to PSM,states withconfirmed fatalities becauseof fentanyl-containing counterfeit pills were as follows: Arizona,California, Colorado, According to PSM,theonlystates withnoconfirmedpresenceof fentanyl-containing counterfeit pills were Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, andNebraska. Source: Centers for DiseaseControl andPrevention NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Figure 7. Synthetic Opioid-involved Rate, 2017 Deaths by State, Age-Adjusted g ofthosestates. Inmany f hadencountered UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED • • pills from authenticprescriptionmedications. not beableto differentiate fentanyl-containing might prescription medications,meaningusers counterfeit CPDswere consistent withauthentic cases, thecolorings,markings, andshapeofthe state. According CountySheriff’s to theBlueEarth and may have caused thedeathofsomeonein fentanyl pillsdisguisedasoxycodone have appeared In March 2019, publicsafety officialsinMinnesota said were unprepared for adoseoffentanyl. thought they were takingauthenticoxycodone and for whodied.Investigators oneperson believe thefour with treatmentsaving threepeople butcomingtoo late pills. Policeadministered naloxone to theindividuals, takingfentanyl-containingafter oxycodone counterfeit ofmultipleindividualsoverdosingreports ataparty 2019,In February Tucson, AZPolicerespondedto Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 15
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG United States both by land, using the SWB, and land, using the SWB, by both States United mail and express international using air, by fentanyl consignment carriers. Typically, to Mexico SWB is sourced the across trafficked the mail is through trafficked and fentanyl geo- DEA cannot China. Although to sourced fentanyl and cocaine, heroin like fentanyl source these two from States United the into trafficked enforcement law is distinct, allowing sources about origin. Fentanyl a determination make to is typified Mexico SWB from the across trafficked in purity (less that are low volumes large by Conversely, pure on average). percent than 10 China the mail from through trafficked fentanyl that are in smaller quantities typically arrives or higher 90 percent highly pure (frequently purity). Transportation andTransportation Distribution the into fentanyl smuggle Traffickers Production no plant requires production Illicit fentanyl in laboratories it is synthesized rather, material; The heroin. unlike chemicals, from entirely is States in the United available fentanyl either China or Mexico; to primarily sourced transit and source new there are however, in the as importantcountries emerging players primary threat. There are two methods fentanyl and method the Janssen synthesize fentanyl: to identified that STRL DEA’s the Siegfried method. were the reports of percent 94 in 2018 analyzed six versus method Janssen the using synthesized synthesized using the Siegfried method. percent is the more complex The Janssen method of synthesis, indicating methods of the two are recruiting trained fentanyl producing DTOs synthesis. assist with fentanyl chemists to UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Office, the decedent was found with blue “M30” with blue found was the decedent Office, drug from originated believe investigators pills, which in Mexico. traffickers In addition, in 2018, FSPP reported an increase In addition, in 2018, and containing acetaminophen in tablets substances typically observed in dipyrone, 85 exhibits date, To heroin. Mexico-sourced contained a combination of (59 percent) as the primary and dipyrone acetaminophen of exhibits percent only 17 to diluents compared these All of in 2017. substances containing these HCl at an average contained fentanyl tablets with a range of milligrams per tablet dose of 1.6 2.3 milligrams 0.5 to concentration from fentanyl in the scientific The consistency per tablet. well as the pills as of these counterfeit profile inclusion of substances commonly associated this indicate both heroin with Mexico-sourced particular is likely tablet “brand” of counterfeit TCOs. Mexican by produced The inconsistent amount of fentanyl present amount of fentanyl The inconsistent major is another pills in fentanyl-containing FSPP DEA’s In 2018, pills’ lethality. to contributor representing 180 exhibits tablet 148 examined contained tablet the average kilograms, in which 0.02 with a range of of fentanyl milligrams 1.5 19 4.84 Furthermore, milligrams per tablet. to a potential contained percent) (13 exhibits tablet than (i.e. a dose greater dose of fentanyl lethal This represents a significant milligrams). two FSPP analyzed when DEA’s 2017, increase from of which representing 23 kilograms, 72 exhibits contained potentially percent) (10 exhibits seven doses of fentanyl. lethal Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 16 industrial pressmachine. fentanyl-laced counterfeit pillsincludingone multiple items related to theproduction of fentanyl powder, chemicals,and precursor fentanyl-laced oxycodone M-30pills,suspected individuals. Mexican officialsseizedsuspected in Azcapotzalco, Mexico Cityandarrested four seized asuspected fentanyl counterfeit pillmill In December2018, Mexican law enforcement the United States. of conspiringto distribute throughout carfentanil along withasecondMexican nationalassociate, press. TheBulgarianbiochemistisalsoaccused, suspected counterfeit pillsandapill carfentanil of thislabresulted intheseizureof20,000 arrested duringtheoperation.Thedismantling associated withtheSinaloaCartel—were and hisMexican co-conspirator—both allegedly border cityofMexicali. ABulgarianbiochemist pillmillingoperationinMexicocarfentanil inthe suspectedand securedthefirst clandestine In September 2018, Mexican authoritieslocated pills. increasing theproduction ofcounterfeit fentanyl their involvement inthetraffickingof fentanyl by 2018 indicates Mexican TCOs areexpanding counterfeit fentanyl pillmillingoperationsin counterfeit pills.Theseizureoftwo separate responsible for producing carfentanil-laced operations, pill-milling one of which was allegedly dismantled two separate clandestinefentanyl In 2018, Mexican law enforcement seizedand Seizures inMexico Counterfeit Fentanyl PillMillLaboratory
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED were ultimately synthesizedinChina. quantity ofseizedMexican shipmentsoffentanyl into theUnited States. Thismeansanunknown fentanyl from China,dilute it,andsmuggleit indicates Mexican traffickers order finished also adulterants anddiluents.DEAreporting seizure isactuallyfentanyl asopposedto other ofagivena relativelyfentanyl smallportion low purityofMexico-sourced fentanyl means to fentanyl originatinginChina.However, the of fentanyl seizedintheUnited States compared represent asignificantlylarger total gross weight United States. SeizuresoriginatinginMexico fentanylis theprimary supplierto the not possibleto identify whether ChinaorMexico distinct geographicforensic profile, itiscurrently seizure amounts, seizure purities, and a lack of a Given thedifferences intraffickingpatterns, 20.2 percent. California (75.7percent) withArizonasecond at of fentanyl seizedalongtheSWB was seizedin the 923kilogramsseized in2017. Themajority This representsa26.2 percent decreasefrom fentanyl were seizedalongtheSWB in 2018. According to CBPdata,681 kilograms of TCOs. representative ofanoverall strategy by Mexican mixing offentanyl withother illicitdrugsisnot United States, not inMexico. Thisindicates the and other illicitdrugstakes placeinside the level, meaningthemixingoffentanyl withheroin drugs arerelatively uncommonatthewholesale fentanylreporting, mixtureswithother illicit to theSWB region.According to CBPandDEA facilities inMexico priorto moving thedrugs combine fentanyl withdiluentsinclandestine drug shipmentsacross theSWB. TheseTCOs multi-kilogram quantities commingledwithother Mexican TCOs continuetrafficking fentanyl in Mexico-Sourced Fentanyl
Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 17 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: DEA Figure 8. Counterfeit M30 Oxycodone M30 Oxycodone 8. Counterfeit Figure ContainingPills Fentanyl In December 2018, Boston’s Organized Crime Drug Boston’s In December 2018, agents Force (OCDETF) Strike Force Task Enforcement and seized members of a Dominican DTO two arrested Subsequent 1,300 grams of fentanyl. approximately the for warrant agents obtained a search the arrest, to location in Massachusetts source of supply’s stash the and more defendants two of resulting in the arrests and seizure of an additional nine kilograms of fentanyl pills. 3,000 counterfeit fentanyl FD and York members of the New In January 2019, – Immigration and Homeland Security Investigations an arrest (HSI-ICE) executed Enforcement Customs launderer involved money a suspected for warrant the Mexico, operating between with a Dominican DTO and the Boston City, York New Dominican Republic, supplying local residents with heroin area that was of the residence A consent search and fentanyl. kilograms two in the seizure of approximately resulted approximately and fentanyl, heroin of suspected Currency (USC), a kilogram States United $100,000 branding/marking press, eight bags of kilogram brick mill. of a large heroin and the components stamps, • • (DTOs), supplied with fentanyl powder by by powder supplied with fentanyl (DTOs), fentanyl powder both distribute TCOs, Mexican pills to fentanyl-containing and counterfeit customers. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
or plazas would need to be need to or plazas would locales DEA reporting continues to indicate the DEA reporting indicate continues to the primarySinaloa and CJNG Cartels are likely for smuggling responsible trafficking groups To Mexico. from States the United into fentanyl pill synthesis and fentanyl the fentanyl date, operations dismantled in Mexico production territory. occurred in Sinaloa-controlled have the trafficking control to are known These TCOs California that connect to corridors in Mexico and Arizona, meaning drugs passing through associated Dominican traffickers, who are heavily involved involved are heavily who Dominican traffickers, trafficking in the Northeastern in fentanyl approved by these organizations. The use of by approved smuggle multiple types of poly-drug loads to tactic for a common the border, drugs across is also typical of the Sinaloa and CJNG fentanyl, cartels. United States, are sourcing their fentanyl, both in both their fentanyl, are sourcing States, United traffickers, Mexican from and in pill form, powder organizations. U.S.- of both the reach expanding Organizations based Dominican Drug Trafficking In April 2018, the Sacramento District Office (DO) seized more than 15,000 counterfeit generic counterfeit 15,000 more than (DO) seized District Office the Sacramento In April 2018, likely pills were counterfeit These California. City, “M30” in Yuba with pills stamped oxycodone than 5,000 counterfeit obtained more DO the Sacramento 2018, in June Later in Mexico. produced with “M30” in Stockton, pills stamped generic oxycodone and During September Mexico. to sourced CA, likely DO obtained more than the Sacramento 2018, October with pills stamped oxycodone generic counterfeit 1,000 Mexico. to sourced CA, also likely “M30” in Oroville, confirmed the presence laboratory testing Forensic a This represents exhibits. in all of the pill of fentanyl shift distribution of counterfeit and in the production DO area of responsibility (AOR). pills in the Sacramento locally by produced pills were counterfeit Historically, DO seized Sacramento the last time the however, DTOs; 2017. in October a pill press was Mexico-sourced Counterfeit Oxycodone Pervasive in Sacramento Market in Sacramento Pervasive Oxycodone Counterfeit Mexico-sourced Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 18 i. h. checks for enhancingenforcement high-riskinternational packages andfurther co-operation. urge couriercompanies to implement real-nameregistrationfor parcels andareincreasingcustoms the deputydirector oftheNationalNarcotics Control Commissionstated Chineseauthorities will by changingfentanyl’s formula to create FRSthataresimilarbutnot previously controlled. Further, American Embassy. Thenew restrictionswillprevent drugtraffickers from circumventing thelaw change atanews conference thatincluded representatives from foreign embassies,includingthe ofPublicSecurity,Officials from three Chineseagencies,includingtheMinistry announced the • • • • propanamide) by oneormoreofthefollowing modifications: new regulationdefinesanFRSasstructurallyrelated to (N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl) piperidin-4-yl] On April1, 2019, Chinaannounced itwould control FRSsasaclasseffective May 1, 2019. China’s China AnnouncesControls onFentanyl-Related Substances(FRSs) seizures originatingfrom China CY 2017 andCY2018, asdidthepercentage of environments decreasedsignificantlybetween and express consignmentoperations(ECO) Fentanyl seizuresintheinternational mail China-Sourced Fentanyl • China decreased57 percent duringthesame total amountoffentanyl seizedoriginatingfrom kilograms to 74.78 kilograms.Similarly, the percent between 2017 and2018, from 162.13 environments declinedby approximately 54 seizures from theinternational mailandECO
furanyl fentanyl, carfentanil). Fentanyl-related substancesarein thefentanyl chemicalfamily, but have minor variations inchemicalstructure(e.g.,acetyl fentanyl, For oforiginHong Kong the purposes ofthis data, seizureswithacountry were of originChina. treated the same asseizureswithacountry NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Replacement ofthephenethyl group withanother group (exclude hydrogen atom) nitro groups; and/or Substitution inoronthepiperidineringwithalkyl,alkenyl, alkoxyl, ester, ether, hydroxyl, halo,haloalkyl,aminoor aromatic monocycle; Replacement oftheN-phenyl group withany aromatic substituted monocycle whether ornot further inoronthe Replacement oftheN-propionyl group by another acylgroup; cocaine, onevehicle, andoneloadedfirearm. of suspected fentanyl, 200gramsofsuspected seizure ofapproximately $110,000 USC,two kilograms of seven search warrants resulted insixarrests, the area. Several motor vehicle stops andtheexecution activities against aDominicanDTO operatinginthe District Attorney’s Office executed several enforcement County MA; andRandolph,MAPDstheSuffolk alongside theBoston, MA;Braintree,Cambridge, In March 2019, theBoston Task Force working h . Total fentanyl UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED related substances regulations inChinaonfentanyl andfentanyl- contributing factors may includeincreased ECO environments isyet unknown; however, decrease infentanyl seizuresinthemailand seizures in2017. Thecauseofthesubstantial to 43percent ofallinternational mailandECO mail andECOenvironments in2018 compared approximately 40percent ofallseizuresfrom the Fentanyl originatingfrom Chinarepresented seized inthemailandECOenvironments. oforiginfor fentanylthe singlelargestcountry kilograms. Inboth 2017 and2018, Chinawas timeframe, from 69.77 kilogramsto 30.28 • increasing production andtrafficking of fentanyl. to disguisepackages’ origin,andMexican TCOs’ transit countries useofintermediary shippers’ successful dark web/open web operations, United States working from China.DEA, inconjunction shipments offentanyl smuggledinto the vendor whousedChineseskincareproducts to conceal In July2018, theAtlanta FDidentified a dark web i (FRSs),multiplehigh-profile Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 19
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Between July 2018 and August 2018, the Pittsburgh 2018, and August July 2018 Between with the Pittsburgh Bureau of DO— in coordination locations on two warrants search Police— executed seizing three pill be pill press operations, to discovered a single organization operated presses. DEA indicated “M30” counterfeit all three pill presses and produced Law and heroin. containing fentanyl tablets oxycodone (dyed and fentanyl also seized heroin enforcement dies and pill press green and blue in color), weapons, the second residence, law at one of the residences. At kilograms of “Firma Press” seized five enforcement grinders,binding agent, three digital scales, beakers, and sifters (see Figure 10). In October 2018 and January 2019, the Phoenix FD and January 2019, 2018 In October fentanyl- of counterfeitmade significant seizures TCOs Mexican the push by containing pills, highlighting with a consistently and supply customers produce to In October fentanyl. besides powder product fentanyl 30,000 FD seized approximately the Phoenix 2018, pills delivered “M30” counterfeit fentanyl-containing San from van on a shuttle couriers travelling two by Phoenix, Arizona. In January Arizona to 2019, Luis, States the Phoenix FD, in conjunction with United drug courier identified a juvenile (USBP), Patrol Border Arizona. The courier was County, operating in Yuma resulting in the seizure checkpoint at the USBP stopped fentanyl-containing pounds of “M30” counterfeit of 16 tablets.
Source: DEA • Seized Equipment Press Pill 10. Figure Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, • shipments containing pill press parts pill press containing shipments and/or customs on official shipments misrepresenting there is no regulatory oversight Moreover, forms. the enter afterof the machines they States. United UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
with the United States Postal Inspection Service Inspection Postal States the United with Sichuan, from shipped a package (USPIS), identified mail service, an international China, via was which enforcement Law vendor. the identified supplied by of fentanyl, grams two contained package the believed the stated package shipping label of the while the inspecting facial masks. Upon cosmetic were contents the determined enforcement law the package, within the box a black inside presence of fentanyl individual packets that contained numerous package discovered was The fentanyl containing facial masks. contained have that would gel pack concealed inside a Figure 9). a facial mask (see
Source: DEA Pill Press Operations Press Pill States the United across enforcement Law identify and dismantle more continues to pill pressing operations. clandestine fentanyl These operations are popular since traffickers in as little as a kilogram of fentanyl can invest hundreds of thousands and produce powder pills to fentanyl-containing of counterfeit Domestic large amounts of revenue. generate usually purchase clandestine pill press operators and FRS in powder already synthesized fentanyl from pill presses available in addition to form, for pills intended counterfeit create China, to sales. DEA and CBP must electronically street the importation of tabulating/ approve traffickers encapsulating machines. However, mislabeling intentionally by law U.S. circumvent Figure 9. Fentanyl Concealed in Gel Pack Concealed 9. Fentanyl Figure Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids 2019 20 international community. and oversight withinIndiaandthroughout the which willincreasethedifficultyofdetection manufacture fentanyl withoutNPPand4-ANPP, chemists have theknowledge to andexpertise China. Theseinvestigations indicate Indian are expanding theirsources ofsupplybeyond for Mexican TCOs, indicatingthesegroups the fentanyl inboth seizureswas intended laboratory. of fentanyl connected to anillicitfentanyl fentanyl orfentanyl and11 precursors kilograms approximately 100 kilogramsofsuspected conducted two separate operationsthat seized with Indianlaw enforcement authorities, In thelasthalfof2018, inconjunction DEA, prove effective. chemicals to Mexican TCOs, iftheregulations FRS to theUnited States andfentanyl precursor supplierof put inplaceby China,theprimary This may helpTCOs new to regulations offset andN-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP). (4-ANPP) 4-anilino-N-phenethyl-4-piperidoneprecursors previously announcedregulationsonfentanyl China, possiblyaconsequence ofChina’s chemicalsin difficulties obtainingprecursor moved to thetargets encountered Indiaafter fentanyl. inChinabut Theoperationstarted to obtainfentanyl chemicalsand precursor a Chinesenationalwhoworked inconcert between anIndiannationaland partnership by Mexican identifieda TCOs. DEAreporting for fentanyl andfentanyl trafficked precursors In late 2018, India emergedasasource country for Fentanyl India asanEmergingSource Country
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
Law enforcement indicates reporting UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED the drugsdomesticallyondark web. fentanyl from Chinaontheopenweb andselling trafficking organizationswillcontinuepurchasing United States; whereassmaller, independent quantities offentanyl to DTOs across the continue to ofwholesale asthesuppliers serve and traffickingoperations.Mexican TCOs will legislation by expanding theirown production and Mexico, respondto China’snew fentanyl traffickers in other countries,suchasIndia production asdrug andsupplywilllikely shift high potency. sources offentanyl Theprimary inconsistent unexpectedly mixingandoften with clusters ofoverdoses anddeathsdueto containing pillscontinuingto beassociated United States, withcounterfeit fentanyl- large pillabuserpopulationinthe likely increaseasDTOs seekto appealto the Clandestine fentanyl pillpressingoperationswill sourced to foreign clandestineproduction. suffer fatal overdoses from illicitfentanyl United States asrecord ofindividuals numbers Fentanyl willremainaseriousthreatto the Outlook • USC andtwo handguns. of thepremises,seized19,000 fentanyl pills,$10,000 a Phoenix-areahotel aconsensualsearch and,after lawafterwards, enforcement located theDTO target at fentanyl-containing6,000 counterfeit pills.Shortly consensual search ofthevehicle and theseizureof vehicle andconducted atraffic stop, which lead to a DEA andlocallaw enforcement identifiedasuspicious several fentanyl shipmentsfrom multiplecouriers. with theTempe PDidentifieda DTO target expecting In March 2019, thePhoenixFDStrike Force 2working
HEROIN Overview New Orleans, St. Louis, and Washington FDs indicated heroin was more available in their Heroin continues to pose a serious public health areas than in the previous reporting period. and safety threat to the United States, though The Miami and New England FDs indicated that some early indicators demonstrate demand heroin was less available in their AORs than last for heroin may be stabilizing. Heroin use and year. overdose deaths, although stable compared to 2017, remain at high levels. The domestic Figure 11. Field Division Reporting of heroin and fentanyl markets intertwine, with Heroin Availability in CY 2018 and both substances disproportionately affecting Comparison to CY 2017 the Great Lakes and Northeast regions of the Availability Availability United States. Traffickers at the regional and Field Division During Compared to retail levels mix fentanyl into white powder CY 2018 CY 2017 heroin and/or press the powders into counterfeit Atlanta Field Division High More pills to stretch supplies while providing a high Caribbean Field Division High Stable Chicago Field Division High Stable quality, very addictive, and extremely potent Dallas Field Division High More product. Black tar and brown powder heroin Denver Field Division High Stable markets retain their dominance of the opioid Detroit Field Division High Stable market in the Western United States. However, El Paso Field Division Moderate Stable the availability and prevalence of white powder Houston Field Division High More heroin is complicated to assess, as some Los Angeles Field Division High Stable markets remain primarily heroin markets Louisville Field Division High Stable Miami Field Division High Less while other markets report fentanyl is largely New England Field Division High Less supplanting traditional heroin supplies. The New Jersey Field Division High Stable overwhelming majority of the heroin available in New Orleans Field Division Moderate More the United States is produced in Mexico and is New York Field Division High Stable trafficked across the SWB by Mexican TCOs. Omaha Field Division High Stable Philadelphia Field Division High Stable Phoenix Field Division High Stable Availability San Diego Field Division Moderate Stable San Francisco Field In 2018, the majority of FDs indicated that High Stable Division heroin was easily obtained at any time. The El Seattle Field Division High Stable Paso, New Orleans, and San Diego FDs indicated St. Louis Field Division High More heroin availability in their AORs was moderate, Washington Field Division High More meaning heroin is generally readily accessible Source: DEA (see Figure 11). The Atlanta, Dallas, Houston,
UNCLASSIFIED 21 Heroin 2019 22 most affected by theopioidcrisis. powder heroin consumermarkets, whichare heroin from SWB states to states with large white areas emphasizes the traffickingandflow of The concentrationsofheroin seizuresinthese seized includeNew York, New Jersey, andIllinois. 12). Otherstates withlargequantities ofheroin most heroin seizedinthosestates (seeFigure Los Angeles,andHouston FDsrecording the Arizona, California, andTexas, withthePhoenix, DEA seizedthelargestamountsofheroin in kilograms in2018 from domesticfielddivisions. heroin markets arelocated. DEAseized1,932 United States wherethelargestwhite powder regionsofthe Midwest, andNortheast United States, especiallyintheGreatLakes, Heroin availability remainshighinthe
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 12. DEAHeroinRemovalsFigure 12. by State, 2018
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED reports through 2017.reports increased through 2015, followed by decreasein decreased from 2001 through 2006, andthen oxycodone/hydrocodone. inNFLIS Heroin reports recordedheroin thaneitherfentanyl reports or opioid,withmore and was themostreported methamphetamine, cannabis,andcocaine, druginNFLISbehind mostreported the fourth 173,842 ofheroin in2016. reports Heroin was inNFLIS,a10reports percent decreasefrom New York. In2017, therewere 157,055 heroin Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Illinois,and followed themostheroinreported reports by submitted to themostheroin NFLIS.Ohio reports regionsoftheUnited Statesthe Northeast primarily located intheGreatLakes and According to state-level NFLISdata,thestates Heroin 23 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG synthetic opioids. As traffickers mix fentanyl into into fentanyl mix opioids. As traffickers synthetic can charge a higher they supplies, local heroin all while maintaining product their price for of responding Instead purity. stable heroin by heroin high quality users’ demand for to can traffickers supplying a more pure product, supplying costs by satisfy demand with fewer with enough adulterated with heroin customers seek they the high customers provide to fentanyl risk of overdose while putting users at greater and death. DEA is observing the spread Additionally, Forensic more rural markets. into of heroin are States the United across laboratories heroin increasingly analyzing undercover heroin rural areas where from purchases had a minimal presence. DEA’s previously illicit drug prices price data indicates historical are typically higher in these locations versus a cities, possibly as both major metropolitan UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 13.Figure Domestic DEA Purchases, Heroin January 2013 2017 – December Source: DEA DEA is observingchanges in the significant other across laboratories Forensic market. heroin retail are analyzing more retail-level States the United and other containing fentanyl exhibits heroin The purity-adjusted retail price for heroin is heroin price for retail The purity-adjusted purity remains more increasing while retail meaning the domestic heroin constant, likely January remains in flux. Between 2013 market per pure gram the price and December 2017, to $811 from increased 44 percent, of heroin heroin During the same period, retail $1,168. pure percent purity remained stable at 34.8 pure in and 34.9 percent in January 2013 These changes (see Figure 13). December 2017 illicit other are contrary trends observed for to States. in the United level drugs at the retail increased cocaine and methamphetamine, For by users and demand traffickers supply by in price and parallel decreases normally leads to increases in purity. UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT function of lower supply in these areas as well as Availability by Heroin Type increased transportation costs associated with Mexico-sourced heroin continues to dominate moving heroin into these areas. The significantly the U.S. heroin market; however, heroin from higher cost of heroin in these rural areas is one three source areas—Mexico, South America, and of the factors driving up the national price. Southwest Asia—is available in the United States to varying degrees. According to The Heroin Signature Program (HSP) DEA’s HSP, Mexico-sourced heroin represents The DEA’s HSP provides in-depth chemical the overwhelming majority of the heroin seized analysis of the source area origin and purity of and analyzed in the United States, while South heroin. Since 1977, the HSP has reported the America is second most common source of geographic source and purity of heroin seized heroin (see Figure 14). Although Afghanistan is at U.S. ports-of-entry, as well as wholesale-level the world’s largest producer of heroin, Southwest seizures within the United States. Each year, Asian (SWA) heroin is available in considerably chemists at DEA’s STRL analyze 700 to 900 smaller quantities in the United States than both samples to assign geographic origin based on Mexico-sourced and Colombia-sourced heroin. authentic samples obtained from the heroin- In contrast, heroin markets in Africa, Asia, and producing regions around the world. Since Europe are dominated by SWA heroin. For at not all heroin seizures in the United States least the past decade, Southeast Asian (SEA) are submitted for analysis, the source area heroin has rarely been available in the proportions should not be characterized as United States, particularly as production in market share. the Golden Triangle (the traditional Southeast Asian poppy-growing region of Burma, Laos, and
Figure 14. Source of Origin for the United States Wholesale-Level Heroin Seizures, 1977 – 2018
Source: DEA Heroin Domestic Monitor Program
24 UNCLASSIFIED Heroin 25 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG fentanyl. The average purities for heroin at the retail at the retail heroin purities for The average fentanyl. type, with MEX/SA averaging by also varied level 33 percent. The 50 percent and MEX/T averaging that contain exhibits continued presence of heroin heroin country the across domestic indicates fentanyl remain in flux. markets Use heroin-involved Drug-poisoning data shows off as fentanyl- be leveling deaths may overdose increase continue to deaths overdose involved deaths overdose Heroin-involved sharply. deaths) (15,469 2016 remained stable between analysis deaths). Further (15,482 and 2017 overdose of heroin-involved the rate reveals has decreased fentanyl involving deaths not start of the since 2014—the percent eight by an 88 crisis—whereas there was current fentanyl overdoses increase in heroin-involved percent during the same timeframe (see Figure overall deaths overdose Although heroin-involved 15). in still involved was be stabilizing, heroin may drug illicit other deaths than any more overdose in 2017. fentanyl except UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 15. Heroin-Involved Overdose Deaths With and Without Fentanyl, 1999 – 2017 1999 Fentanyl, Without and With Deaths Overdose 15.Figure Heroin-Involved Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease Control for Source: Centers According to Heroin Domestic Monitor Program (HDMP) Program Monitor Domestic Heroin to According heroin percent of the retail-level 41 data, approximately the country across analyzed from exhibits contained Submissions of Mexican heroin to the DEA HSP to heroin Submissions of Mexican DEA. analyzed by the majority of all heroin account for 93 for accounted heroin Mexico-sourced 2018, For analyzed under of heroin weight percent of the total majority of wholesale-level The overwhelming the HSP. free or either adulterant were the SWB from exhibits Inconclusive contain fentanyl. diluent free and did not approximately represented South American heroin percent of all seizures analyzed, South American five three percent of all approximately represented heroin less represented heroin seizures analyzed, and SWA than one percent of all seizures analyzed. In addition, primarily were made at the SWB seizures of heroin powder shipments of highly refined, high purity white using South American processing Mexico sourced to purity of 83 (MEX/SA) with an average methods tar (MEX/T) shipments black percent while Mexican percent. purity of 51 had an average • • Thailand) declined significantly overall since overall Thailand) declined significantly Colombia a lesser extent, and, to 2000. Mexico because of market heroin the U.S. dominate established transportation and their proximity, satisfy ability to distribution infrastructure, and States. demand in the United heroin Heroin 2019 26 percent from 2017 (seeFigure 17). Low opium pure heroin, adecrease ofapproximately four could produce about 106 metric tons (MT)of estimates, theamountofpoppy cultivated ha in2017. According to U.S. Government (USG) to 41,800 hectares(ha)compared with44,100 2018, poppy cultivation decreasedfive percent decreased for timesince2012. thefirst In Opium poppy cultivation inMexico slightly Production •
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT established opioidmarkets. the continuedlinkbetween heroin andfentanyl in of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths,highlighting of thefive states that experienced thehighest rates overdose deathsin2017. West Virginiawas alsoone and Illinoishadthehighest rates ofheroin-involved West Virginia,Delaware, Connecticut,New Jersey, availability ofwhite powder heroin (seeFigure16). had thelargest heroin userpopulationsandhighest andMidwest;in theNortheast regionsthathave long Rates ofheroin overdose deathsremainthehighest Source: Centers for DiseaseControl andPrevention Figure 16. HeroinOverdose Death Rate, 2017 Age-adjusted UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: U.S. Government Estimates scale. indicate fentanyl isdisplacingheroin onalarge reductioninheroinbeen noobserved flows to fentanyl inplaceofheroin. However, therehas mixing fentanyl withheroin orelseselling the decreaseincultivation aswell astraffickers the steep increaseinproduction probably drove prices paidto poppy farmers inMexico dueto Mexico, 2014 –2018 Figure 17. Potential Pure HeroinProduction in 42 70 81 111 106 Heroin 27
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: Customs and Border Protection and Border Source: Customs Figure 18.Figure Border Heroin Seizures, Southwest 2012 – 2018 Transportation andTransportation Distribution the into smuggled of heroin The majority the across overland is brought States United transport airlines Couriers commercial on SWB. Heroin States. the United into lesser amounts remained high but stable SWB seizures at the CBP seized by kilograms of heroin with 2,321 2,284 kilograms in 2017. to compared in 2018 slight increase in seizures, both the Despite than the significantly higher were totals overdose heroin-involved Analysis of both laboratory reports data and forensic indicate to deepen their continue traffickers Mexican powder trafficking operations in the white heroin Midwest, in the Great Lakes, markets heroin and Northeast States. regions of the United domestic heroin The largest, most lucrative markets powder be white continue to markets cities, while smaller markets in major Eastern still exist and black tar heroin powder brown for powder White States. United in the Western are also the biggest fentanyl markets heroin mix heroin both traffickers as Mexican markets, and sell fentanyl level at the retail and fentanyl amount seized in 2016 (1,690 kilograms) (see (1,690 in 2016 amount seized Figure 18). UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In March 2019, the Philadelphia FD identified and 2019, In March mill and fentanyl dismantled a large-scale heroin warrant A search trafficker. a Dominican by operated thousand stamped in the seizure of several resulted of suspected a kilogram package of heroin, packets and containers and multiple bags of fentanyl, paraphernalia, processing fentanyl, heroin, suspected cutting agents, including more than 40 vials and other of xylazine. In January 2019, the New York FD targeted a DTO a DTO FD targeted York the New In January 2019, large amounts of heroin distributing responsible for York City area. The New York in the New and fentanyl During leader. the DTO’s and arrested FD located of the suspect’s residence, search the subsequent mill and and dismantled a heroin officers discovered along with fentanyl and kilograms of heroin seized five paraphernalia and stamps. In December 2018, a Baltimore District Office HIDTA Office HIDTA a Baltimore District In December 2018, fentanyl and identified a fully functional heroin Group of heroin thousands pill mill capable of producing The operation seized a daily. capsules and fentanyl gel-caps, gel-cap kilogram press, thousands of empty 800 grams of and approximately loader trays, quick and fentanyl. heroin suspected
• • • Heroin milling operations, often operations, milling in conjunction Heroin law commonly observed are by with fentanyl, These States. the United across enforcement quantities wholesale break down operations them and repackage fentanyl and/or of heroin further for quantities mid- and retail-level into “mills” are oftendistribution. These located residences where members’ private in DTO with minimal can operate feel they traffickers mixtures fentanyl and Heroin risk of detection. at this stage, as DEA and are primarily created heroin indicate continue to CBP seizure data fentanyl. rarely contain seizures at the SWB DEA reporting these combinations indicates vary in their concentrations of heroin, widely usually resulting adulterants, and other fentanyl, the regional drug mixing by inconsistent from or further by local trafficking groups cuts added suppliers. Heroin 2019 28 Source: DEA in Metal-Like Boxes Figure 19.SixKilograms ofHeroinConcealed (see Figure20). 12 smallerpackets containingheroin battery. Theadditionalspacewas used to conceal been removed andreplaced by amuchsmaller Thevehicle’s had original battery compartment. heroin concealedinsidethevehicle’s battery leading to thediscovery offour kilogramsof driver’s pocket, searched officers the vehicle, discovering asmallamountofcocaineinthe a suspected heroin couriervehicle. After In July2018, PDstopped Worth theFort additional trap. undercarriages. Otherboxes withoutholesledinvestigators to believe theboxes were placedinan had abolt-sizedanchorhole,whichindicates theseboxes may have beenattachedto vehicle was largeenoughto concealapproximately two kilogramsofheroin. Someofthecompartments method amongTCOs. concealdrugsandother Theseorganizationsoften contrabandinsideexterior loads insideaftermarket fixturesor various other automotive remainsapopularconcealment parts Mexico-based TCOs employ avariety ofmethods to smuggleheroin into theUnited States. Hidingdrug Heroin ConcealmentMethods inVehicles
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED the United States (seeFigure19). Eachbox boxes usedto smuggleheroin from Mexico to and several empty ducttape-wrappedmetal Investigators seizedsixkilogramsofheroin Texas. Worth, a residentialneighborhood inFort a search warrant atanarcotics stashhouse in In September 2018, theTexoma HIDTA executed illicit drugloadschallengingfor law enforcement. available to TCOs makes often thedetection of sizes andshapesreadily modifications of varying the drugs.Thecountlessdifferent aftermarket plausible deniabilityiflaw enforcement discovers believing itprovidesparts anaddedmeasureof Source: DEA Discovered ina Hollowed Out Car Battery Figure 20.Four Kilograms ofHeroin Heroin 29 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In Delaware, fentanyl was the most commonly most the was fentanyl In Delaware, 2018 results from toxicology in identified substance of decedents. Fentanyl present in 72 percent and was 125 for to decedents compared present in 287 was opioids, indicating prescription for and 144 heroin consumer base among a larger have may fentanyl or prescription heroin to opioid drug users compared opioids. since has decreased of heroin the cost Jersey, In New opioid pills and of fentanyl whereas the cost 2017, be may heroin has increased, indicating demand for of heroin, the cost or declining. In 2018, stagnating percent, while the cost per kilogram decreased 18 increased 50 percent. The number of of fentanyl counties Jersey submissions in New heroin suspected also increased substantially containing fentanyl 54 percent to seven from and 2018, 2015 between percent of all submissions. • • as a standalone product (see Fentanyl and Fentanyl (see product standalone as a only a Section). Combining Opioids Synthetic supplies heroin into of fentanyl small quantity to stretch DTOs by allowing profits can increase in drop a noticeable supplies without their heroin quality. product remain mixed markets and fentanyl The heroin powder most of the major white throughout in select areas, law However, markets. heroin officials report and public health enforcement portion is supplanting a significant of fentanyl As fentanyl market. heroin the pre-established can mix traffickers than heroin, is more potent with various of fentanyl small quantities relatively and diluents and sell their product adulterants The increased without losing potency. as heroin heroin powder in white presence of fentanyl of result in higher rates continues to markets deaths, straining overdose fentanyl-involved in and public health resources enforcement law of heroin- with high levels areas already afflicted overdoses. involved UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
United States, as noscapine is believed to to is believed as noscapine States, United drugs. While of other magnify the effects during as waste noscapine is generally discarded reuse it to some processors processing, heroin The finished noscapine-enriched powder. make allowing is typically sold as heroin, product to maximize profitability trafficking organizations supplies. heroin extending by In August 2018, the Mount Dora PD and the Dora PD and the Mount 2018, In August brown Office seized suspected Orlando District oxycodone, black tar heroin, heroin, powder a rifles from AR-15 and two methamphetamine, Florida. The joint in Mount Dora, facility storage in the seizure of drugs resulted investigation three bricks and three pressed into that were approximately weighing cylindrical packages DEA forensic to one kilogram each. According composed bricks were laboratory analysis, two contained solely of noscapine while the other with noscapine. Noscapine is mixed heroin used as family the poppy from an alkaloid (cough its antitussive a medication due to of heroin and a by-product suppressing) effects DEA reporting, to Mexican According processing. as trafficking organizations use noscapine the smuggled into cutting agent in heroin Bricks of Noscapine and Heroin BricksHeroin and of Noscapine in Seized with Noscapine Adulterated Florida Heroin 2019 30 throughout theUnited States. established smugglingroutes both into and into theUnited States withMexican TCOs using source ofsupplyforprimary heroin smuggled involving heroin alone.Mexico willremainthe fentanyl-involved overdoses than from overdoses in thenearterm, diefrom asmoreusers heroin-involved overdose deathsmay moderate synthetic opioidsatthelocal level. Asaresult, markets will besupplanted by fentanyl andother will likely containfentanyl andmoreheroin such, moreheroin-involved overdose deaths heroin suppliesandmaximizerevenues. As traffickers mixingheroin with fentanyl to stretch willcontinuetoalready intertwined, resultin markets. Theheroin andfentanyl markets, used typeofheroin inallthemajorU.S. heroin remains highlypureandisthemostcommonly not alsoinvolve fentanyl. White powder heroin involved overdose deathswhenthosedo the nearfuture,leadingto decreasesinheroin- Heroin availability, whilehigh,may stabilizein Outlook
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
CONTROLLED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Overview Figure 21. Field Division Reporting of Controlled Prescription Drugs Availability in CY CPDj abuse remains a major factor behind 2018 in Comparison to CY 2017 the record number of overdose deaths in the United States since 2017. Prescription opioid- Availability Availability Field Division During Compared to involved deaths decreased slightly; however, CY 2018 CY 2017 benzodiazepines and antidepressants were Atlanta Field Division High Stable involved in an increasing number of overdose Caribbean Field Division Moderate Stable deaths. New regulations, lower production Chicago Field Division High Stable quotas, and prescribing guidelines have Dallas Field Division Low Stable decreased the overall amount of opioid dosage Denver Field Division Moderate Stable High More units available on the retail market, although Detroit Field Division El Paso Field Division Moderate Stable there are still significant disparities throughout Houston Field Division High Stable the country. While the overall number of opioid Los Angeles Field Division High Stable dosages lost or unaccounted for has reached a Louisville Field Division High Stable new low, the number of CPDs lost in transit has Miami Field Division High Stable reached its highest level since 2010. New England Field Division High Stable New Jersey Field Division Moderate Stable New Orleans Field Division High More Availability New York Field Division High Stable DEA reporting shows high CPD availability for Omaha Field Division High Stable 2018 throughout the United States (see Figure Philadelphia Field Division High Stable 21). During 2018, 17 of 23 FDs reported that Phoenix Field Division Moderate Stable CPD availability was high. Three FDs reported San Diego Field Division High More San Francisco Field High Stable increased availability of CPDs from the previous Division year, while all other FDs reported availability was Seattle Field Division High Stable stable. St. Louis Field Division High Stable Washington Field Division High Stable According to the CDC, in 2017, prescription Source: DEA opioid-involved fatal overdoses (e.g. oxycodone, stable in 2017, decreasing slightly by 0.34 hydrocodone) were recorded for 17,029 percent, from their peak in 2016, but remained Americans—or about 47 people every day. The high. The highest overdose death rates from most common CPDs involved in overdose deaths prescription opioids were in West Virginia, are methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Maryland, Kentucky, and Utah. Conversely, Deaths involving prescription opioids remained j. CPD includes, but is not limited to, narcotics (e.g. Vicodin, OxyContin), depressants (e.g. Valium, Xanax), stimulants (e.g. Adderall, Ritalin), and anabolic steroids (e.g. Anadrol, Oxandrin).
UNCLASSIFIED 31 Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 32 Compared to 2010 All Other Opioid CPDs inBillionsofDosage Units, Figure 23.Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Drugs Sold to Prescription Retail Level Purchasers However, opioidscontinueto rankasfive outof and teaching institutions)was down from 2017. treatmentprograms,pharmacies, practitioners, nationwide attheretail level (hospitals, the numberofdosageunitsdistributed Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) reported In 2018, DEA’s Automation and ofReports 9.5 percent respectively (seeFigure22). antidepressants increasednearly8percent and deaths involving benzodiazepinesand Source: Centers for DiseaseControl andPrevention
Figure 22.Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Selected Drugs, 1999–2017 Control Prescription NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: Automation andConsolidated of Reports OrdersSystem **The majority of deaths in this category involve**The majorityofdeathsinthiscategory illicitmethamphetamine includesdeathsfrom both*This category licitandclandestinely-produced fentanyl. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 2018. seven in2017 andremainedinthetop seven in dependence, replacedmethadone inthetop addiction therapeuticdrugusedto treatopioid presence over theyears. Buprenorphine, an (Ritalin)—have maintainedaconstant stimulants—amphetamine andmethylphenidate more thantwicetherate ofany other CPD.Two and oxycodone products were dispensedat the seven mostdistributed CPDs.Hydrocodone –2018 Controlled Prescription Drugs 33 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG average. Prescribing rates also vary widely Prescribing rates average. Alabama and (see Figure 24). states between had the highest prescription rates, Arkansas prescriptions for higher than 100 which were had the and Hawaii York people; while New 100 prescriptions per and 37 at 37.8 rates lowest (see Figure 25). people respectively 100 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 24. State Opioid Prescribing Rates, 2017 Rates, Prescribing Opioid State 24. Figure
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease Control for Source: Centers Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease Control for Source: Centers Figure 25. States with Five Highest and Five Lowest Opioid Prescribing Rates, 2017 Rates, Prescribing Opioid Lowest Highest Five and Five with 25. States Figure representing 37 states. The nationwide The nationwide states. representing 37 58.5 prescriptions was 2017 for prescribing rate some counties had rates yet people, per 100 national times higher than the seven that were While prescribing rates are down are down While prescribing rates vary they widely between overall, particularlystates, county at the one opioid The CDC reports in 2017 level. 16 dispensed per resident in prescription was States, of counties in the United percent The amount of prescription of prescription amount The on the available opioids has declined market legitimate peaking in since each year the number of However, 2011. available prescription opioids remained significant. in 2018 billion 10.8 indicated ARCOS opioid CPDs were dosage units of and distributed manufactured over Of that number, in 2018. oxycodone were 79 percent (see products and hydrocodone Figure 23). Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 Figure 26.Opioids Manufactured at theRetail Distributed Level 2016 and Final DEAQuotas, -2018 34 epidemic. providers to combatCPDabuseandtheopioid bulkmanufacturers, distributors,DEA, and ofacoordinated among This isonepart effort anypharmacy to issuesto report authorities. analgesics—allowing the distributor andthe a pharmacysellingunusualquantities ofopioid with information to identify“redflags”—suchas patients. Thisenhancementprovides distributors data doesnot contain information onindividual distributor inthelastsixmonths.However, this well astheamountofaCPDdispensedby each view anddownload thenumberofdistributors as registered manufacturers anddistributors to enhancement to ARCOS. Theupdate allows DEA- 2019,In February DEAreleasedan Distributors ofCPDs DEA Provides aNew Tool to Help
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: Centers for DiseaseControl andPrevention UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED same timeframe. by 50percent and43percent respectively inthe distributed opioidsattheretail level—decreased for hydrocodone andoxycodone—the two most 2016 to 2018 (seeFigure26).Individualquotas fentanyl base hydrocodone, oxymorphone,hydromorphone,and prevalent opioids( at least2006.DEAquotas for theseven most available dropped to theirlowest level since significant, theamountofprescriptionopioids prescription opioidsavailable in2018 remained since peakingin2011. Althoughthenumberof the legitimate market hasdeclinedeachyear amount ofprescriptionopioidsavailable on guidelines, andlower quotas set by the DEA, enforcement scrutiny, new prescribing Through acombinationofincreasedlaw ) decreasednearly47 percent from oxycodone, morphine,codeine, Controlled Prescription Drugs 35 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Prescribers of controlled substances will be required to take continuing education related to opioids. to education related continuing take to will be required Prescribers substances of controlled Pharmacies will be checking the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program (CSPMP) prior to dispensing (CSPMP) prior to Program Monitoring Prescription Substances the Controlled Pharmacies will be checking and patient safety; improve to an opioid prescription Prescribers will no longer be able to dispense opioids directly to patients; dispense opioids directly to Prescribers will no longer be able to For new prescriptions, there will be a 5-day limit for initial fills of opioid prescriptions and a dosage limit of 90 and a dosage limit initial fills of opioid prescriptions limit for there will be a 5-day prescriptions, new For per day; milligram equivalents morphine
• • • • In January 2018, the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act was passed into law to reduce overdoses and and reduce overdoses to law passed into was the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act In January 2018, Designated on April 26, 2018. effect going into components with several patient safety improve illicit prescribing and dispensing practices; reduce reduce opioid deaths; improve to goals in AZ were “opioid use disorder” treatment; and prevent to access of opioids; improve and diversion acquisition that went of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act the provisions Some of and increase patient awareness. included: effect into As of February 2019, 47 states, Puerto of Columbia, and the Department Rico, the District states, of 47 As of February 2019, the sharing of PDMP data through Agency Health participate in interstate Defense Defense’s system. InterConnect Program of Pharmacy’s Prescription Monitoring National Association of Boards participate. do not this data Sharing and Nebraska California, of Washington, the states However, picture of their patients’ prescribers and pharmacies a more complete basis gives on a nationwide misuse and CPDs for purchase lines to state identify patients who cross and can help histories diversion. PDMPs track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients and provide patients and provide prescription drugs to controlled prescribing and dispensing of PDMPs track the multiple studies indicates from Evidence a patient’s prescription history. regarding critical information obtaining shopping” for “doctor reducing behavior, in changing prescribing effective that PDMPs are abuse of CPDs . However, and preventing medically unnecessary prescriptions and overprescribing, of such as the variety multiple factors, by is limited PDMPs’ true effectiveness into the research in reporting the differences effectiveness, requirements, and access determine used to methods reduce prescription drug to initiatives concurrence with other and states, PDMP design between abuse. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Drug Monitoring Prescription District of Columbia, the in all 50 states, are active (PDMPs) Programs Drug Monitoring Prescription a program. of establishing is in the process of Puerto USVI and Guam. The Rico territories and the The St. Louis County PDMP. a statewide implemented that has not state Missouri is the sole Department a local PDMP based upon voluntary participation, administers of Public Health which population. state of the 84 percent 72 jurisdictions and an estimated currently covers Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 36 individuals whomisusedpainrelievers the pastyear. Thisnumberincludes11.1 million abusingCPDsin 12 years orolderwhoreported marijuana withnearly18.1 aged millionpersons most commonlyabusedillicitsubstanceafter of CPDsremainhigh.arethesecond reported misuse ofpainrelieversreported inthepast of thepopulationaged 12 years orolderwho According to the2017 NSDUH,62.6percent past year. ain relievers include hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, codeine,morphine, fentanyl, buprenorphine, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, methadone, l. k. Drug UseandHealth According to the2017 NationalSurvey on Use from beingstolen orabused. medications from theirhomes,preventing them method to remove opioidsandother prescription initiative Americansasafe offers andconvenient been collected sincetheprogram’s launch.This pounds (5,908tons) ofthesemedicationshave nearly12million just under5,000partners, or over-the-counter medication.Working with of unused,expired, orunwanted prescription country, amassingmorethan900,000pounds Day atover 6,000collectionsites across the its 17th NationalPrescriptionDrugTake-Back medications. InApril2019, DEAconducted and responsibleway to disposeofunneeded hasprovidedthis effort ananonymous, safe, in U.S. communities.SinceSeptember 2010, Prescription DrugTake-Back collectionsites agencies twiceayear to hostNational withfederal, state,DEA partners andlocal Take-Back Day DEA’s 17th NationalPrescriptionDrug
meperidine, andothers. P 2015. Changes w NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT ere madeto thecategories ofmethamphetamine, psychotherapeutic drugs,andhallucinogens in2015, preventing trendanalysispriorto k (NSDUH),abuselevels l inthe UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED heroin, fentanyl, orcarfentanil. substances, includingmethamphetamine, counterfeit CPDscontainmultiplecontrolled overdose deathsin2017. Frequently, these contributing factor to therecord numberof the legitimate CPD.Thisremainsasignificant which may beconsiderablymorepotent than of thesubstancesincludedincounterfeit CPDs, draw innew clientele. areunaware users Often, legitimate CPDsinorder to maximizeprofits and substances—such asheroin andfentanyl—as sources. DTOs areincreasinglydisguisingillicit prompting many to turnto illegitimate to obtainCPDsviaphysicians and pharmacies, unable ofCPDabusers increasingnumbers left aimingto reduceCPDabusehas other efforts New prescriptiondispensingguidelinesand emotions (3.6percent). sleep (5.4percent), andto helpwithfeelings or to relieve tension (8.4percent), to help with for misuseincludedto get high(13.2 percent), common reasonfor theirmisuse.Otherreasons year cited relief ofphysical painasthemost • •
multiple pillpressesandover 1,000gramsof revealed alocalSanFrancisco residentpossessed In September 2018, aSanFrancisco FDinvestigation that actuallycontainmethamphetamine. noted Ecstasy ofpurported increasingnumbers pills other side.Both St. LouisCityandSt. LouisCounty and marked with“30”ononeside and “M”onthe actually containfentanyl, areround, lightblueincolor, counterfeit pillshave beenmarketed asPercocet but contained fentanyl and/ormethamphetamine. Some pills; both have beensubmitted insamples that are themost commondrugsanalyzedascounterfeit samples submitted in 2018. Alprazolamand oxycodone pills submitted for analysis,withapproximately 200 steady increaseinthenumberandtypesofcounterfeit Louis, MissouriMetropolitan Areahave a reported Since 2017, five localcrimelaboratories inthe St. Controlled Prescription Drugs 37 peaked in 2011 and in 2011 peaked n DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG , in 2016, the latest year for which for year latest the , in 2016, m has since declined. The percentage of opioid has since declined. The percentage with 19.4 peaked for unaccounted narcotics 6.7 there were million dosage units. In 2018, dosage units unaccounted million opioid narcotic of the representing less than one percent for, More than half (53.1 percent) of prescription percent) More than half (53.1 abusers their most obtained pain reliever a friend or relative recently misused CPDs from or via theft. payment, for free, in exchange for of CPD abusers obtained their a third Over or by prescription(s) through pain relievers with a health care provider, them from stealing a through most obtaining the pain relievers a single doctor. prescription from distributed of opioid narcotics the number Both in billions of dosage purchasers, level retail to units, and the number of dosage units of opioid the DEA Drug reported lost from narcotics Theft and Loss Database According to the Treatment Episode Data Set Set Data Episode the Treatment to According (TEDS) Diversion data is available, treatment admissions to to admissions treatment data is available, to related facilities funded treatment publically 134,085 slightly to drugs declined prescription The decline in 2015. 135,500 admissions from some be partlyin admissions can to attributed illicit or other heroin CPD abusers switching to heroin of admissions for opioids, as the number Other reasons since 2011. has nearly doubled success of PDMPs, pill abusers could include the increased facilities, at private seeking treatment health and public enforcement efforts law from in opioid- entities, and corresponding increases deaths. overdose related UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED ted by state agencies to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services the Substance Abuse Administration agencies to state by ted piles information on armed robberies, customer theft, employee pilferage, CPDs lost in transit, and night pilferage, theft, customer employee on armed robberies, piles information In March 2019, the Indianapolis District Office the Indianapolis District 2019, In March and stops, traffic a series of warrants, conducted The a poly-drug DTO. while investigating arrests in the seizures of 23 Xanax resulted investigation and OxyContin pills, along hydrocodone bars and 100 grams of five pounds of methamphetamine, with four firearms. 21 cocaine, a large amount of USC, and In March 2019, the San Diego FD arrested 20 FD arrested the San Diego 2019, In March in members gang trafficking Southern California for cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, oxycodone, were of the defendants and carfentanil. Several opioids and of prescription in the distribution involved opioids laced with carfentanil, prescription counterfeit One than fentanyl. times more potent is 100 which of carfentanil with distribution charged individual was a fatal to resulting in death after being directly linked overdose. methamphetamine, which were used to manufacture manufacture to used were which methamphetamine, pleaded guilty pills. The resident Adderall counterfeit to with intent of methamphetamines possession to distribute. break-ins at analytical labs, distributors, exporters, hospitals/clinics, importers, manufacturers, mid-level practitioners, practitioners, pharmacies, exporters, hospitals/clinics, importers, mid-level at analytical labs, distributors, manufacturers, break-ins institutions. The Drug Theft database, meaning all reported and teaching numbers are and Loss Database is a live distributors, reverse researchers, change. subject to TEDS is a compilation of treatment admissions data repor TEDS is a compilation Department(SAMSHA) of the U.S. of Health and Human Services. The DEA Drug Theft and Loss Database com
A study funded by the National Institute on the National Institute A study funded by to 2018 March from conducted Drug Abuse web dark identified 30 active 2018 August Illegally sold prescription marketplaces. readily illicit drugs were medications and other number and a growing these sites on available to been connected deaths have of overdose the the study, During purchases. web dark Dream marketplace, web most popular dark listings for 3,500 separate had over Market, prescription drugs and nearly 5,000 listings for opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, announced earlier Dream Market and fentanyl. after cease operations the that it would this year arrest of some of its vendors. Prescription Medications for Sale on the Prescription Medications for Web Dark m. n. • • Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 38 Source: DEA a significantincrease over 2017. Possible (see Figure28).However, somestates saw in 2018 was thelowest sinceatleast2010 opioid narcotics. Thenumberofarmedrobberies of various prescriptionmedications,not only 2017. Thesefiguresincludedarmed robberies in 2018, following ahighof 883robberies in armed robberies decreasedover 27 percent Database, thetotal numberofprescriptiondrug According andLoss to theDEADrugTheft 2018 (seeFigure27). nearly 11 billiondosageunitssoldto retailers in
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Figure 29.Number ofArmedRobberies by State, 2018 Source: DEA in Millions,2010 –2018 Figure 27. ofOpioid Narcotics Lost Number ofDosage Units Opioids 2010 12.5 Source: DEA Figure 28.Total Number ofArmed Robberies, 2010 –2018 Robbery 2011 Armed 19.4 2012 13.1 2010 771 2013 11.6 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 2011 712 2014 12.4 2012 year. California thehighestnumberof reported number ofarmedrobberies from theprevious of Columbia,experienced nearlydoublethe 29). Alabama,Pennsylvania, andtheDistrict robberies from theprevious year (seeFigure 120 percent increaseinthenumberofarmed In 2018, 199 robberies, Michiganreported a availability ofsecureprescriptionpadpaper. of falsifying prescriptionsdueto widespread drugs ontheblackmarket, oranincreasingease be anincreasingprevalence ofprescription explanations for thedecreaseinrobberies may 801 2015 9.8 2013 738 2016 9.6 2014 836 2017 9.1 2015 872 2018 Island experiencing a50 six states, withRhode pilferage increasedin incidents ofemployee 2017 and2018, (see Figure30).Between burglary, andintransit employeetheft, pilferage, throughoccurs customer The lossofCPDsalso dropped to threein2018. 2016 and24 in2017 but 21-armed robberies in 2017. Arizonaexperienced percent decreasefrom but thismarked a58.5 armed robberies at112, 6.7 2016 835 2017 883 2018 644 Controlled Prescription Drugs 39 theft incidents declined in 2018. slightly overall trend of The overall incidents of CPDs lost in transit increased in with the highest 2018 (see since 2010 number 32). and Figures 31 Lost in transit describes substances controlled being misplaced while one point from moving within the another to supply chain. In 2018, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG 2017 and 2018. Nighttime break-ins increased Nighttime break-ins and 2018. 2017 South York, New Oklahoma, in Pennsylvania, reported California 2018. and Illinois for Carolina, 214, break-ins, the highest number of nighttime reported 314 decrease from percent a 31.8 the number of customer Lastly, incidents in 2017. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 30. Losses of Controlled Prescription Drugs by Report Type, 2015 – 2018 2015 Report Type, Prescription Controlled of 30. Losses Figure by Drugs Figure 31. Top Ten States for Controlled Prescription Controlled Drugs for States Ten 31.Figure Top 2018 Lost Transit, In Source: DEA Source: DEA percent increase. Connecticut experienced an increase. Connecticut experienced percent in the number of employee decline percent 87.6 13 to 105 from incidents, dropping pilferage Vermont, except states, incidents. All other pilferage a decline in employee experienced each in had one incident incidents. Vermont Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 40 nurses, andothernurses, medicalprofessionals and of DEAregistrants,diversion by physicians, Although representative ofonlyasmallnumber truly lost. dosage unitsarebeingdiverted, destroyed, or nationwide (seeFigure33).Itisunclearifthese the total 18,604 lostintransitincidentsreported straight year, accountingfor nearlyone-halfof significant increaseinincidents for the fourth District ofColumbia.Wisconsinexperienced a increases occurringinNew Hampshire andthe of lostintransitincidents,withthegreatest Columbia experienced increasesinthenumber 22 states, Rico,andtheDistrict of Puerto
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 32.Total inTransit” Number of“Lost 2010 Reports, –2018 Source: DEA Figure 33. Number of Lost inTransitFigure 33.Number ofLost by Reports State, 2018 Transit Lost in Lost 3,191 2010 3,994 2011 5,059 2012 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 4,962 2013 • across theUnited States. remainsathreatto communities their staff 6,006 2014 prison. pharmacy technician was sentenced to 48monthsin was sentenced to 120monthsinprison,whilethe of promethazine withcodeine. Thepharmacist of alprazolamtablets, andmorethan13 gallons oxycodone andhydrocodone tablets, thousands opioids. Both subjectsdiverted morethan200,000 bottles ofhigh-dosageprescription pharmacy-grade hundreds offraudulentprescriptions anddivert pharmacy technician usedtwo pharmaciesto process Thepharmacist anda in adrugtrafficking offense. substances andconspiring to laundermoney involved pharmacist for conspiring to distribute controlled In November 2018, thePhoenixFDarrested a 9,699 2015 13,264 2016 15,977 2017 18,604 2018 Controlled Prescription Drugs 41 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In April 2019, the New York FD arrested an individual an FD arrested York the New 2019, In April prescriptions multiple filling and issuing fraudulently for and zolpidem (Ambien) Vicodin, Percocet, for members and family at various themselves for manager an office The individual was pharmacies. fraudulent 190 and issued nearly a dental group for units of 5,000 dosage over totaling prescriptions, substances. controlled • Outlook persist likely and abuse will most CPD availability as States United to the as significant threats in large numbers be involved CPDs continue to The sharing of PDMP deaths. of overdose along with targeted states, between information agencies, will enforcement law by investigations of diversion. reduce incidents to continue likely prescribing physician The CDC’s revised opioids, which are mandatory in a guidelines for contribute will likely number of states, growing the number of dosage decrease in a steady to However, years. several the next units sold over the CPD with the successful reduction in shift abusing more usersmay to availability, opioids, and synthetic illicitly produced heroin, effects, obtain similar to methamphetamine deaths furtherwhich may increase overdose 2020. at least through UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In April 2019, the Minneapolis District Office the Minneapolis District In April 2019, a homecare nurse after receiving investigated oxycodone stealing that the individual was complaints during healthcare prescriptions and hydrocodone six months, the individual had switched visits. For The medications with allergy medications. narcotic after being observed in arrested individual was possession of a patient’s pharmaceuticals. In March 2019, a Kansas City, Missouri doctor was doctor Missouri City, a Kansas 2019, In March and multiple intentional in prison for life to sentenced drugs outside the course of prescription distributions Louis FD charges medical pratice. St. of legitimate of justice, laundering, obstruction included money and unlawful investigators, to presenting false records led to and alprazolam which of methadone distribution the death of one patient. In February 2019, the Grand Rapids Resident the Grand In February 2019, opioid and for providing a physician Office arrested cocaine, for in exchange benzodiazepine prescriptions were and cash. The prescriptions methamphetamine, operating out of a medical was issued while the doctor residences. marijuana clinic and private In February 2019, a New York physician was convicted was physician York a New In February 2019, on nine counts after writing thousands of medically and unnecessary oxycodone for prescriptions cash for period in exchange a three-year over fentanyl for prescriptions had written The doctor payments. nearly one million units of oxycodone. In January 2019, a St. Louis FD investigation resulted Louis FD investigation a St. In January 2019, of making accused a doctor in an indictment for for Medicare and Medicaid and to false statements opioids without a legitimate prescriptions distributing long patients drove Prospective medical purpose. where medical visits paid cash for and distances The doctor changed. diagnoses were and records after patients opioids even provide also continued to or failed urinalysis drug tests. overdosed In December 2018, the Los Angeles FD arrested FD Los Angeles the 2018, In December who wrote physician California County, an Orange any without conducting patients for prescriptions per $100-150 between charging medical examination, patients suffered Five prescription. fatal overdoses, under accident while caused a fatal and one patient narcotics. the influence of prescribed • • • • • • Controlled Prescription Drugs 2019 42
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METHAMPHETAMINE Overview methamphetamine was more available compared to the previous reporting period, Methamphetamine seizures, survey, price, and the remaining 9 divisions reported stable and purity data as well as law enforcement availability in 2018 (see Figure 34). reporting all indicate methamphetamine continues to be readily available throughout the Figure 34. Field Division Reporting of United States. Most of the methamphetamine Methamphetamine Availability in CY 2018 available in the United States is produced and Comparison to CY 2017 clandestinely in Mexico and smuggled across Availability Availability the SWB. Domestic production occurs at much Field Division During Compared to lower levels than in Mexico and seizures of CY 2018 CY 2017 domestic methamphetamine laboratories have Atlanta Field Division High Stable continued to decline. Drug poisoning deaths Caribbean Field Division Low Stable involving methamphetamine continue to rise, as Chicago Field Division Moderate More Dallas Field Division High More methamphetamine purity and potency remain Denver Field Division High More high while prices remain low. Detroit Field Division Moderate More El Paso Field Division High More Availability Houston Field Division High Stable High Methamphetamine is available throughout the Los Angeles Field Division Stable Louisville Field Division High More United States, with the highest availability in Miami Field Division Moderate More the West and Midwest regions of the country, New England Field Division Moderate Stable as well as a strong presence in the Southeast. New Jersey Field Division Low Stable Methamphetamine is seized in varying degrees New Orleans Field Division High More in nearly every domestic FD (see Figure 34). New York Field Division Moderate Stable However, in recent years, methamphetamine Omaha Field Division High More Philadelphia Field Division Moderate More has become more prevalent in areas that have Phoenix Field Division High More historically not been major markets for the drug, San Diego Field Division High More particularly the Northeast. San Francisco Field High Stable Division The majority of FDs indicated methamphetamine Seattle Field Division High Stable availability was high throughout the St. Louis Field Division High More United States. In 2018, 14 FDs reported Washington Field Division Moderate More methamphetamine availability was high and Source: DEA seven reported methamphetamine availability was moderate. Fourteen divisions reported
UNCLASSIFIED 43 Methamphetamine 2019 44 otency isdefinedasthemeasureofdrug activityin terms ofthedosagerequired to aneffect onthebodyandismeasured exert by theamountof p. o. 5 percent between 2016 (314,872) and2017 toMethamphetamine NFLISdecreased reports Northeast. large markets for thedrug,suchas in regionsthathave not historically maintained methamphetamine hashadagrowing presence of theinterstate highway system; however, dueto proximitycountry to theSWB and use Southwest, and Southeastregionsofthe maintains astrong presence intheWest, (see Figure35).Generally, methamphetamine some domesticproduction remainsprevalent in somestates intheSoutheastregion,where concentrations instates nearer theSWB aswell every degrees,withhigher USstate invarying methamphetamine maintainsapresencein Drug removals by DEAfielddivisionsshow
the highlypotent d-isomerpresentinthedrug substance. P adulterants, diluents,or solvents. Purity isdefinedasameasureofthe amountofanillicitsubstancepresentinasam NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 35.Removals by ofMethamphetamine State inKilograms, 2018 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED indicates meth availability remainedhighand while pricedatathrough December 2018 gram puritylevels averaged above 90percent, pure andinexpensive. Methamphetamine per- retail level intheUnited States remainsvery indicate methamphetamine available atthe Purity Purity, Potency, and Price submitted40 percent in2017. ofallreports submittedeight percent in2009to ofallreports -growingtotal numberofalldrugreports from ofthe represent anincreasinglylargerportion data alsoindicates methamphetamine reports percent—since 2010 NFLIS (159,738 reports). havereports increasedsignificantly—87 (298,102). However, overall methamphetamine ple com o andpotency pared to other substancesinthesample suchas p through December2017 Methamphetamine 45 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG which has led to increased competition among among competition increased to has led which new exploring TCOs groups, TCO the different increasing and methamphetamine, for markets price The the SWB. coming across quantities rise with a to begin may of methamphetamine in prices currently, although expansion, market low. remain consistently established markets Use in the CDC categoryThe number of deaths with abuse potential” “psychostimulants Methamphetamine- increase. continues to poisoning deaths are drug involved which category, under this broader counted drugs such as caffeine includes other (including MDMA, and phenethylamines and and methamphetamine), amphetamine, the CDC, to According cathinones (e.g. ethylone). psychostimulant 10,333 there were in 2017, States, drug-poisoning deaths in the United 2016, increase from percent representing a 37 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Figure 36. DomesticFigure Methamphetamine Purchases, January 2013 – December 2017 In the second half of 2018, methamphetamine of 2018, In the second half percent purity 97.5 the MPP averaged through sampled (see Figure 37). and 96.9 percent potency Analysis of domestic methamphetamine purchases methamphetamine Analysis of domestic indicates 2017 December through Januaryfrom 2013 gram of methamphetamine the price per pure $56— while $68 to percent— from decreased 17.6 percent to 94.4 percent— from purity decreased 1.5 Figure 36). 93.0 percent (see Source: DEA United States. Mexican TCOs regularly produce produce regularly TCOs Mexican States. United which has methamphetamine, of quantities large supply of methamphetamine a significant led to TCOs The majority of Mexican market. in the U.S. trafficking, in methamphetamine are involved Mexican TCOs continue to be the primary continue to TCOs Mexican cost, high purity, and suppliers of low producers in the methamphetamine high potency • • prices remained low. Additionally, seizures seizures Additionally, low. remained prices the DEA Methamphetamine through sampled high to have continue (MPP) Program Profiling of high availability indicating potency, purity and methamphetamine. Methamphetamine 2019 46
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Source: Centers for Disease Control andPrevention Figure 38.Psychostimulant-involved Drug Poisoning Deaths, 2005–2017 Figure 37. Purity and Potency Methamphetamine UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Methamphetamine 47 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG methamphetamine available in the United States States the United in available methamphetamine the smuggled across and in Mexico is produced SWB. Shortly after the CMEA, the passage of similar legislation introduced Mexico ephedrine and regulating precursors, notably The series of legislative pseudoephedrine. imports, actions first limited then limited prescription, a requiring by sales, followed and pseudoephedrine then banning ephedrine the country the from entirely in 2008. Despite on precursor chemicals, restrictions in Mexico finding adapt by continue to TCOs Mexican with of manufacture, methods alternative much of the precursor chemicals sourced a shift in China. This led to companies in to ephedrine-based from method production with less-restricted a method to methods precursor chemicals. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Figure 39. 2017 Psychostimulant-involved Drug Poisoning Deaths by State, Age-adjusted State, Rate by Deaths Poisoning Drug Psychostimulant-involved 39. 2017 Figure
Clandestine methamphetamine laboratory Clandestine methamphetamine the decrease across to seizures continue Production in level and are at the lowest States United of the 2005 Combat The passage years. 15 (CMEA) Epidemic Act Methamphetamine production reduced domestic methamphetamine ingredients. placing restriction on key by been unable to have Domestic producers of the or quality up with the quantity keep on an produced cost methamphetamine lower most of the Now, industrial scale in Mexico. and a 543 percent increase since 2005 (see 2005 since increase a 543 percent and of increasing number The steadily Figure 38). be due to may psychostimulants deaths from into expansion market and availability increased traditionally are not user bases that areas and use. with methamphetamine associated Methamphetamine 2019 48 sale bytraffickers poly-drug ratherthananintentional combination. result ofaccidentalcontaminationduringmethamphetamine processing and/orpackaging for re- two percent for ofallmethamphetamine 2017, reports whichmay indicate thesemixturesare the methamphetamine, perNFLISdata.Methamphetamine-fentanyl mixturesaccounted for about In2017,analyzed methamphetamine reports. forensic laboratories analyzed298,102 of reports of methamphetamine andfentanyl ofthetotal smallportion combinationsrepresentavery increasedoverAlthough thenumberofmixturereports 1,342 percent since2015, reports substanceinthesample. or tertiary mixtures have substance,withfentanyl methamphetamine astheprimary orFRSasasecondary occurrence, butmay beusedto achieve thesameeffect astraditionalspeedballs.Many ofthese such combinationshave beenrare.Mixturesofmethamphetamine withfentanyl arealsoarare Methamphetamine hashistorically beenmixed withheroin to create a“speedball,”although and fentanyl orFRSsince2015. with orsoldasheroin, forensic laboratories have analyzedexhibits containingmethamphetamine fentanyl andFRSinselectmarkets oftheUnited States. Althoughfentanyl istypicallyeithermixed Since 2015, DEAandother law enforcement agencies have seizedmethamphetamine mixed with Fentanyl andMethamphetamine Combinations
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Combinations, 2015-2017 and Fentanyl ofMethamphetamine Figure 40.NFLIS Reports Fluoroisobutyryl FentanylFluoroisobutyryl Methoxyacetal Fentanyl Cyclopropyl Fentanyl Furanyl Fentanyl Butyryl FentanylButyryl Acetyl Fentanyl Acryl FentanylAcryl Carfentanil Fentanyl 2015 32 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 2016 84 0 0 5 0 1 0 1 0 2017 270 49 16 4 0 1 4 4 4 Total 386 54 17 4 1 1 5 4 4 Methamphetamine 49 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG reported to the El Paso the El Paso reported to q es, Chemical Only or Equipment Only es, Chemical Only or Equipment Incidents include Dumpsit Seizures, and Laboratory Seizures. q. Domestic Production 2000s, methamphetamine In the early in yearly seizures increased laboratories with in 2004 and peaked States the United methamphetamine 23,703 approximately laboratory incidents Intelligence Center (EPIC) National Seizure (EPIC) Center Intelligence domestic since 2004, (NSS). Overall, System has decreased production methamphetamine in production spike with a moderate annually, significantly. that has since declined in 2010 at its lowest is currently Domestic production 41). point since at least 2000 (see Figure NSS reporting, to methamphetamine According drug manufactured is the most frequently in the seized in clandestine laboratories can laboratories Clandestine States. United residences, motel private up anywhere: be set apartments, rooms, house trailers, and hotel and commercial mobile homes, campgrounds, incidents establishments. The majority of seizures of clandestine NSS were reported to discoveries were while others percent), labs (61 or seizures of (28 percent), of dumpsites percent). or chemicals only (11 equipment of the domestic methamphetamine Many small-capacity were seized in 2018 laboratories as “one-pot” known laboratories, production labs. A laboratory of this and bake” or “shake of ounces or less two size generally produces making cycle, per production methamphetamine Common conceal. it small-scale and easy to (i.e. pseudoephedrine/ household items camp lithium batteries, ephedrine tablets, fuel, starting packs) are used as fluid, and cold inside a container such ingredients and mixed produces This method as a plastic soda bottle. and is small amounts of methamphetamine,
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Ammonium chlorideAmmonium Formaldehyde • •
Not Controlled Examples: Not Controlled Methlylamine Benzaldehyde Nitroethane • • • Controlled Examples: Controlled The CMEA of 2005 was signed into law on March on March law signed into The CMEA of 2005 was retail over-the-counter 9, 2006, which regulated precursor chemicals, sales of methamphetamine such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and provisions Retail products. phenylpropanolamine of the CMEA include daily sales limits and 30- out limits, placement of product purchase day access, sales logbooks, of direct customer training, employee ID verification, customer and self-certification sellers. The of regulated Patriot CMEA is defined as Title VII of the USA of 2005 Act and Reauthorization Improvement 109-177). (Public Law The Combat Methamphetamine The Combat Methamphetamine of 2005 Epidemic Act Methamphetamine is produced via multiple is produced Methamphetamine of different that utilize a variety methods on the process. chemicals depending as are controlled of these chemicals Many sought have chemicals, though TCOs listed pre- using uncontrolled this by bypass to in TCOs Mexican of precursors. The involvement with industrial or production methamphetamine importation relies upon the “super-laboratories” China and of these chemicals primarily from be mislabeled India. Chemical shipments will in companies legitimate in China, shipped to Central America, and then diverted or Mexico the to and smuggled overland the TCO by clandestine laboratories. Methamphetamine Precursor Chemicals Methamphetamine Methamphetamine 2019 50 nearer theSWB. from thesourcein areasfarther ofsupplyand majority oflabsseizedwill mostlikely remain production willcontinue to declineandthe methamphetamine from Mexico, domestic availability offoreign produced andsourced (seeFigure43).Withincreasing transportation from traditionalmarkets anddistanceof and upperMidwest), possiblydueto distance from intheNortheast theSWB (particularly seizures continueinprevalence inareasfarther 42). Domesticmethamphetamine laboratory ounces orlessofmethamphetamine (seeFigure small laboratories capableofproducing two laboratories seizedintheUnited States were 2018, 85 percent ofallmethamphetamine from 2012 (13,657) to 2018 (1,568). In laboratories seizeddecreased88percent The numberofdomesticmethamphetamine serious injuries,oreven death. dangerous, andinmany casescancausefires, “Onepot” laboratories areoften portable. very
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: El Paso IntelligenceSource: ElPaso Center asofMarch 27, 2019 Figure 41. Number of Methamphetamine Laboratory Incidents, 2000–2017 Laboratory Number ofMethamphetamine Figure 41. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Laboratory Capacity,Laboratory 2018 Figure 42.Comparison ofSeized Clandestine Source: El Paso IntelligenceSource: ElPaso Center asofMarch 28,2019 Methamphetamine 51 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Foreign Production Methamphetamine in Mexico production domestic remains high, as has been production TCOs decreasing. Mexican from away moved have restricted the heavily precursors ephedrine and in favor pseudoephedrine that involve of methods chemicals less restricted obtain. that are easier to produce TCOs Mexican using methamphetamine amination the reductive which uses method, the precursor phenyl-2- propanone (P2P) instead of pseudoephedrine. of pseudoephedrine. (P2P) instead propanone of 98 percent the DEA MPP, to According in the second half of 2018 analyzed samples TCOs Mexico method. using this produced were that is methamphetamine produce are able to to while less expensive highly pure and potent, the decline of to which has contributed produce, domestic production. emerged profile forensic a new In mid-2014, and other the SWB analyzed from samples for has method domestic locations. This new seized samples become the primary for method of and in the interior and analyzed at the SWB to is linked profile This newer States. the United P2P recipe called the nitrostyrene an alternate which startsmethod, and with benzaldehyde precursors. as the key nitroethane P2P- MPP data reflects that the newer in prevalence decreased method Nitrostyrene of 22 percent from the first half of 2018 from UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: El Paso Intelligence Center as of March 28, 2019 as of March Center Source: El Paso Intelligence The DEA MPP provides an in-depth chemical The DEA MPP provides methamphetamine analysis of selected with associated establish trends to samples seized of methamphetamine the manufacture The MPP further States. primarily in the United manufacture used to establishes the method as tracking purity as well methamphetamine, the trends. However, related and other levels origin of the source determine MPP is unable to because the drug samples methamphetamine and morphine unlike produced, is synthetically plant sources. from cocaine, which are extracted is only data set that the MPP It must be noted plan, and is not of the MPP sampling reflective samples of all methamphetamine representative the DEA laboratory system. to submitted DEA’s Methamphetamine Profiling Profiling Methamphetamine DEA’s (MPP) Program Figure 43. Total of All Methamphetamine of Clandestine Laboratory 43. Total Figure Chemical/ and Dumpsites, Laboratories, Including Incidents 2018 Seizures, Equipment Methamphetamine 2019 52 movements ofthesenew chemicalprecursors. the establishmentofthisformula andthe hassupported been created, DEAreporting benzylnitrile. Whilenoforensic marker has and sodiumcyanide to make anoilcalled PAA production method utilizing benzylchloride alsoindicates apotentialDEA reporting new the newer Nitrostyrene methods. chemical restrictionsandseizuresfocusing on may beinreactionto Thisshift 44). precursor half of2017 increasing88percent (seeFigure ofanalyzedsamples thaninthefirst portion halfof2018,the first butmaintainedalarger P2P methods decreasedby 13 percent from recipes. Profiles thatcontainedamixtureofboth agrowing trendofolderPAA-typesupporting percent increasefrom halfof2018 thefirst acid (PAA) profiles have experienced a45 from halfof2017. thefirst Olderphenyl-acetic second halfof2017, anda77 percent decrease half of2018, a45percent decreasefrom the samples analyzedto 12percent inthesecond Precursor RestrictionsPrecursor andPricingCanInfluenceProduction Methods drive pricesup,andforce producers production to methods. shift couldslowand production. precursors production, Identifying,targeting, andrestrictingnecessary methods and/orchemicals dependingonwhatmaterials arereadilyavailable to maintainsupply chemicalsorrestrictedprecursor chemicals,significantmethamphetamine producers will shift pattern ofchemicalreactionsandingredients. Ratherthanwait on shipmentsofpreferred are many methods different to produce methamphetamine, production follows apredictable caused pricesfor thesechemicals to increaseover 300percent ontheblackmarket. While there of Mexico formally controlled chemicalsbenzaldehyde theP2Pprecursor andnitroethane, which technique usedby Mexican methamphetamine manufacturers. InOctober 2015, theGovernment chemicalavailability suggestsprecursor DEA reporting andpricedrive theP2Pproduction
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED 2nd-Half 2018 Results P2P Sub-Category for the Figure 44. Source: DEA
Methamphetamine 53 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In October 2018, the Phoenix FD, working in the Phoenix FD, working 2018, In October conjunction with Arizona Department of Public Safety, concealed seized 25 pounds of methamphetamine, collars four the rims of all within metal around wrapped tires (see Figure 46). In May 2018, Hidalgo, TX CBP officers seized 57.94 Hidalgo, TX CBP officers seized 2018, In May within the concealed kilograms of methamphetamine canine and x-ray detection A drug gas tank of an SUV. inside anomalies revealed of the vehicle examination apparent was of tampering the gas tank, and evidence CBP upon visual inspection of the undercarriage. the the main fuel tank and discovered officers removed A with methamphetamine. filled completely tank was discovered the SUV was power second, smaller tank to under the vehicle. Source: DEA Figure 46. Suspected Methamphetamine 46. Suspected Figure in MetalConcealed Collars • • and commercial buses. Commonly, traffickers traffickers Commonly, buses. commercial and transport of shipments multi-kilogram owned privately in methamphetamine remains a tank concealment Fuel vehicles. with either packaged technique widely used or methamphetamine methamphetamine concealed in solution. Methamphetamine in vehicles natural voids in tires and other smuggling for popular methods are other contraband into and other methamphetamine States. the United UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Source: Customs and Border Protection and Border Source: Customs Traffickers employ various methods and methods various employ Traffickers transport to and conceal techniques using human such as methamphetamine, services, flights, parcel couriers, commercial The SWB remains the main entry The SWB point for entering the majority of methamphetamine CBP, to According States. the United seizures continue to methamphetamine of 95 percent with increase along the SWB, seizures occurring at or near methamphetamine seizures Methamphetamine 2018. in the SWB from percent increased 246 along the SWB (39,237 2018 kilograms) to (11,356 2013 nationwide kilograms) (see Figure 45). Total seizures increased 37 methamphetamine to kilograms) (30,157 2017 between percent kilograms). (41,365 2018 Distribution U.S. in every is seized Methamphetamine wholesale control TCOs Mexican state. distribution, while both methamphetamine typically criminal groups and Caucasian Mexican States. distribution in the United retail control Transportation andTransportation Figure 45. CustomsFigure Protection Border and Methamphetamine Border Southwest Seizures, 2013 – 2018 Methamphetamine 2019 54 Methamphetamine Methamphetamine Figure 47. Filled with Cargo Stabilizers requires aconversion to laboratory extract the forms.powder Thissmugglingmethod orcrystal to detect, andcanbelessexpensive than solution ismoreeasilysmuggled,difficult and alcoholicbeverages. Methamphetamine in of liquids, includingvehicle fluids,fuels, water, Methamphetamine canbedissolved inavariety • • Source: DEA
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT not packaged inacondensedorcompacted form. not visiblein x-ray because themethamphetamine was suspected andcontents thatthecompartment were was concealed insidethesteel beams.Agents panels. Twenty kilogramsofloosemethamphetamine markings onapanelcovering steel beamsintherocker inspection by agentsrevealed asingle boltandtool X-ray examination showed noanomalies,butavisual ofentry. inspectionattheLaredo,TXport secondary In December2018, a vehicle was referred to stabilizers still functionednormally. mechanisms. Althoughfilledwithcontraband,the enforcement typicallydoesnot inspectthese loads andprevent unwanted movement, andlaw tractor-trailer drivers to usecargostabilizers secure methamphetamine (seeFigure47). Commercial cargo stabilizers containingsixkilogramsof In November 2018, theHouston FDseizedseveral UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Atlanta Field Division Atlanta FieldDivision Figure 48.ElectricTransformer Seizedby • • the streets insolutionform. is dissolved. Methamphetamine israrelysoldon methamphetamine from thesolutioninwhichit Source: DEA suspended indieselinside. had approximately 140 gallonsofmethamphetamine McAllen HIDTA seizedthetransformer inPharr, which led to another inPharr, transformer delivery TX.The suspended indiesel.Aninterview withthedriver with anadditional270 gallonsofmethamphetamine of methamphetamine insideanelectricaltransformer In November 2018, theAtlanta FDseized73kilograms gallons). increase from 2017 (557 gallons)to 2018 (784 methamphetamine insolutionshowed a41 percent Reported seizuresby theHouston FDof Methamphetamine 55 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
Source: DEA Figure 50. Counterfeit Adderall pills seized Adderall 50. Counterfeit Figure in Florida Source: Michigan State Police State Source: Michigan Figure 49. Counterfeit Adderall Tablets Tablets Adderall 49. Counterfeit Figure Containing Methamphetamine seized in Michigan UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED As with other drugs of abuse, this product drugs of abuse, this product As with other of the determination illustrates innovation appealing to methamphetamine make to DTOs non-traditional users, particularly those in the offering the drug in CPD abuser population, by atypical forms. In April 2019, the Pinellas County, FL the Pinellas County, In April 2019, with Lab shared information Forensic Laboratory Southeast about a DEA’s The tablets tablets. seizure of Adderall with imprints in color, orange/peach were Laboratory matching that of 30 mg Adderall. contained the tablets analysis revealed DEA On April 30, 2019, methamphetamine. counterfeit Miami Field Division seized 1,500 pills in Hialeah, FL, also containing Adderall 50). (see Figure methamphetamine Counterfeit Adderall pills containing Adderall Counterfeit in Michigan seized were methamphetamine and same color of the The pills were in 2019. prescription Adderall, as legitimate markings caffeine, but contained methamphetamine, Figure 49). This (see and acetaminophen that methamphetamine indicate may prescription are targeting traffickers the counterfeit stimulant users, similar to a gain access to to in order MDMA tablets, larger user market. Methamphetamine in pill form has appeared in several states in 2018 and into 2019. Many Many 2019. and into in 2018 states in several has appeared form in pill Methamphetamine been counterfeit have others while MDMA tablets, that resemble pill forms involved have incidents seizures or as the primary present with methamphetamine pharmaceuticals substance. Several supposed MDMA tablets yielded have and South Carolina Ohio, Virginia, Jersey, in Illinois, New containing methamphetamine. Emerging Trend: Methamphetamine in Pill Form Methamphetamine Trend: Emerging Methamphetamine 2019 56 contained a mainhouse,threebarns, anda conducted onseveral oneofwhich properties, methamphetamine DTO. Search warrants were a conversion operationfrom laboratory a 2019,In February theAtlanta FDseized 51). Carolina, Missouri, andTennessee (seeFigure laboratories seizedinOhio,Indiana,North Midwest region.In2018, therewere conversion fromin states theSWB, farther primarilyinthe Conversion laboratories have alsobeenseized California. accounted for themajority, closelyfollowed by 2018, conversion laboratories seizedinGeorgia seizures occurredinCalifornia. However, in 2017, themajorityofconversion laboratory methamphetamine. Eachyear from 2000- methamphetamine insolutionbackinto crystal methamphetamine into orto crystal recrystallize either to convert powder methamphetamine not usedfor production, butareinstead used Methamphetamine conversion laboratories are Conversion Laboratories
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: El Paso IntelligenceSource: ElPaso Center asofMarch 28,2019 Figure 51. Conversion Laboratory Incidents in the United States, 2018 Incidents inthe United States, Conversion 2018 Laboratory Figure 51. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Seized inFebruary 2019 inSolution Figure 52.Methamphetamine (see Figure52). 200 poundsofmethamphetamine insolution seized 250poundsofmethamphetamine and onit.TheAtlantamethamphetamine FD drying andastrainerwith suspectedburner andtank, consisting ofalargemetal cauldron, propane A secondbarnheldtheconversion laboratory with methamphetaminecontainers insolution. shed. OnebarncontainedTupperware-type Source: DEA Methamphetamine 57 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Outlook TCOs Mexican can expect States The United traffic high-purity, and produce continue to to across methamphetamine high-potency likely, Most States. the United into the SWB adapt their to will continue TCOs Mexican as restrictions are placed methods production on precursors or as precursor chemicals become or cost-prohibitive. unavailable temporarily low remains The price of methamphetamine an oversupply due to but stable, possibly market; in the U.S. of methamphetamine try increase the TCOs to as Mexican however, continuing base by customer methamphetamine begin the price may markets, new explore to seizures again. Methamphetamine increase to rise as continue to will likely along the SWB remains high. States demand in the United persist will likely Declining domestic production in produced as long as methamphetamine high cost, high purity, a low remains Mexico will laboratories Conversion alternative. potency increase as methamphetamine to continue likely concealment in solution remains an effective method.
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: DEA According to DEA reporting, an unknown DTO DEA reporting, to DTO an unknown According were which in April 2018, the drill bits acquired After be fixed.” “to Mexico Juarez, south to driven had been filled with methamphetamine, they at the Presidio seized in May the drill bits were POE. The hidden compartments in the drill bits kilograms of methamphetamine. contained 16.6 In May 2018, the El Paso FD received FD received Paso the El 2018, In May oil rig-drilling bits two regarding information for the destined filled with methamphetamine port of entryFigure (POE) (see Presidio, Texas the first encountered time DEA had 53). This was method. this concealment Unique Concealment Method: Method: Concealment Unique Drill Bits in Industrial Methamphetamine Figure 53. Oil Rig Drill Bits Containing 53. Oil Rig Drill Bits Figure Methamphetamine Methamphetamine 2019 58
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COCAINE Overview meaning cocaine is easily obtained at any time (see Figure 54). Houston, Louisville, New Cocaine is a resurgent threat in the York, Omaha, Philadelphia, and St. Louis FDs United States as seizures, availability, coca indicated cocaine was more available in their cultivation, and cocaine production remain areas than in the previous reporting period. at elevated levels. Overall, availability levels Atlanta and San Diego FDs indicated that increased and domestic prices decreased, with cocaine was less available in their AORs than the some regional variation due to local market previous year. forces. Continued heightened levels of coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia, Figure 54. Field Division Reporting of Cocaine the primary source for cocaine seized in the Availability in CY 2018 and Comparison to CY 2017 United States, has driven down the price of cocaine while increasing its availability, Availability Availability further widening the domestic cocaine market. Field Division During Compared to CY 2018 CY 2017 Fentanyl’s presence in the cocaine supply Atlanta Field Division Moderate Less remains a serious concern for law enforcement Caribbean Field Division High Stable and public health officials as the deadly opioid Chicago Field Division Moderate Stable exacerbates higher cocaine-involved overdose Dallas Field Division Moderate Stable deaths. The SWB remains cocaine’s primary Denver Field Division Moderate Stable point of entry into the United States while Detroit Field Division High Stable Mexico-based TCOs maintain their dominance El Paso Field Division Moderate Stable Houston Field Division High More of transportation and distribution. Heightened Los Angeles Field Division High Stable cultivation and production will likely translate Louisville Field Division High More into further increased domestic availability, Miami Field Division High Stable reduced domestic prices, and increased law New England Field Division High Stable enforcement challenges through the near-term. New Jersey Field Division High Stable New Orleans Field Division Moderate Stable Availability New York Field Division High More Omaha Field Division Moderate More In 2018, all FDs indicated cocaine availability Philadelphia Field Division High More was at least moderate in their area, meaning Phoenix Field Division Moderate Stable cocaine is readily accessible. The Caribbean, San Diego Field Division Moderate Less Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Louisville, San Francisco Field Division Moderate Stable Miami, New England, New Jersey, New York, Seattle Field Division Moderate Stable St. Louis Field Division Moderate More Philadelphia, and Washington FDs indicated Washington Field Division High Stable cocaine availability in their AORs was high, Source: DEA
UNCLASSIFIED 59 Cocaine 2019 60 Source: DEA in theUnited States Mainland, 2018 Figure 55.OriginofCocaine Samples Seized Of allcocainebrickstested, 80percent were all cocainebricksanalyzedwas 85.4percent. origin (seeFigure55).Theaverage purityfor origin, andfour percent were ofUnknown Colombian origin,sixpercent were ofPeruvian 90 percent ofcocainesamples tested were of Signature Program (CSP),in2018, approximately the United States. According to DEA’s Cocaine majority ofcocaineseizedandanalyzedin source forColombia remainstheprimary the
Figure 56. Price and Purity of Domestic Cocaine Purchases, January 2013 –December2017 2013 January Cocaine Purchases, Figure 56.Price and Purity ofDomestic NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED to percent) 64.3 (seeFigure56).Between and purityincreased38.6percent (46.4percent price decreased28.2percent ($213 to $153) 2013Between January andDecember2017, availability compared to theprevious five years. likely representative ofhigherdomesticcocaine 2013between January andDecember2017, decreased whileaverage grampurityincreased Average retail priceperpuregramofcocaine containing various other cuttingagents. mixtures withdexamisole andthreepercent percent containinglevamisole and/orlevamisole analyzed were cutwithvarious diluents,with17 of 69percent in2006.Therestofthebricks least 2000,surpassing theprevious record cocaine bricksin2018 isthehighestsinceat the lastseveral years. Thepercentage ofuncut cocaine, whichincreasedsignificantlyduring directly relates to quality ofColombian theexport analysis, thepercentage ofuncutcocainebricks increase from 2017 (59 percent). Per CSP diluents—which representsa35.6percent uncut—did not containany adulterants or Cocaine 61 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Albany District Office reporting from June 2018 notes notes Office reporting District June 2018 from Albany crack an increased user base and high demand for cocaine in Buffalo, price of NY is driving up the overall cocaine. Reporting of “good the scarcity suggests also cocaine” in the area is driving up the price and quality the quality. lowering
• Since early 2018, multiple FDs reported Since early 2018, cocaine and purity of increases in the quantity price of The kilogram in their AORs. available years, than in previous cocaine remains lower and increased production due to most likely FDs reported many Subsequently, availability. correlating escalating cocaine use in their AORs, with increased emergency department visits deaths. overdose and rising cocaine-involved some FDs reportedNevertheless, lowered and early 2019. 2018 during late availability of overall indicators prevailing given However, it seems unlikely increased cocaine availability, this trend will persist. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
CSP analysis has consistently indicated that Colombian-origin cocaine dominates the market in the the market cocaine dominates that Colombian-origin indicated CSP analysis has consistently intelligence enforcement law available with all findings are consistent forensic These States. United share, but is rather U.S. market reflect reporting. to intended CSP data is not and investigative exhibits 47,000 (over a substantial dataset The CSP also provides of current trends. a snapshot from taken analysis that reflects random cocaine samples intelligence strategic for since 1998) of tons metric that total all DEA laboratories) to domestic seizures (submitted all wholesale-level cocaine each year. Each year through the CSP, in-depth chemical analyses are performed on approximately 2,500 are performed chemical analyses in-depth on approximately the CSP, through Each year The program States. the United made throughout bulk seizures obtained from HCl exhibits cocaine Additionally, the world. around seized from exhibits a smaller number of cocaine also examines illicit cocaine South American from seized materials other reagents, and of solvents, samples and at the Special Testing developed Analytical methodologies are examined. laboratories cocaine into processed where the coca leaf was and of how evidence Laboratory give Research cocaine hydrochloride into converted cocaine base was origin), and how base (geographical origin of the geographic State-of-the-art method). can determine scientific methods (processing with a a cocaine exhibit produce region used to growing the sub-regional to the coca leaf, down 96 percent. exceeding confidence level DEA’s Cocaine Signature Program Cocaine DEA’s December 2016 and December 2017, the and December 2017, December 2016 cocaine increased 8.5 for price retail average and purity increased 2.7 $153) to ($141 percent reaching 64.3 percent), to (62.6 percent percent since Januarythe highest purity recorded 2007. once percent, 61.5 2017, purity for Average of 61.1 benchmark the 2007 again surpassed increasing Despite purity. average percent be prices may 2017, slightly throughout decline, and current retail beginning another than observed prices remain considerably lower 41.4 price has fallen Retail years. in previous during of $261 since reaching a peak percent The continuing overall 2012. July-September prices but higher purity suggests trend of lower than supply—resulting in demand remains lower than throughout more pure product a cheaper, the past decade. Cocaine 2019 62 • • • •
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT struggling to maintainasteady supplyandarelated localized decreaseinavailability, withlocaltraffickers from June2018Chicago FDreporting indicates a generation” users. remaining crack customers consisting ofolder“80s crack cocainemarket dueto itslower price,with methamphetamine may besupplantingsomeofthe street alsosuggestsan ordinary drug.Reporting drug”frequently seeninclubsinsteada “party of Intelligence suggests cocainehasbecomemoreof a potential inthelocalcocaineuser market. shift from December2018St. LouisFDreporting indicates mainstreamed andeven “normalized.” used to beinfrequent butnow hasbecomemore that cocaineconsumption by inSanDiego minors from OctoberSan DiegoFDreporting 2018 notes through Mexico. instability hasdisrupted thetraditionaltrafficking route expensive fracturingand intheareabecausecartel alsosuggests cocainehasbecome Reporting area isbelieved to beofhighquality andColombian. thatcocaineinthe TXareas.TheFDreported Worth, that cocaineuseisontheriseinArlington andFort from SeptemberDallas FDreporting 2018 indicates Figure 57. National Forensic of Cocaine, 2006–2017 Reports Laboratory UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED • • •
system. withcocaineintheir hospital emergencydepartments rise inAllegheny Countyfor patientsadmitted to Additionally, inJune2018 reporting notes acorrelating of crack cocainebeginningaround November 2018. indicates a“significantincrease”inthe availability throughout theirAOR. March 2019 reporting of both cocaine andcrack areincreasingsteadily 2018 andearly2019 indicates availability anduse throughout Pittsburgh District Officereporting drop, possiblysignalinganother increaseinsupply. However, theRO priceshadrecentlybegunto reported of poorerquality thanseenintheareapreviously. alsoindicatesReporting theavailable cocainewas 2018 shows increasedpricesandlowered availability. Westchester County, from December NYRO reporting cocaine andtheincreaseinpricescanlikely of countries throughout theregion.Theshortage Rico,theUSVI,cocaine pricesinPuerto and several decrease incocaineavailability andanincreasein from early2019Caribbean FDreporting shows a indications ofincreasednationalavailability. believe islikely to thisshortage last dueto strong increase inprice.However, theChicagoFDdoesnot Cocaine 63 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG were at their peak in 2006, reports in 2006, their peak at were at their are Cocaine production 2013. since level highest after 2013 rise again in began to in Colombia cocaine’s visibility of decline. While years several than lower remain significantly and availability production in 2006, sustained cocaine were they cocaine’s overall is increasing levels at record drug market. U.S. presence in the analysis of NFLIS submissions State-level cocaine remains most show continues to South and Northeast,dominant in the with and in select West an increasing presence in cities (see Figure 58). Laboratories Midwest the South and Northeast, (59 such as McAllen ME (31 Augusta, percent), Miami (47 percent), Orlando percent), City (28 York New percent), Tampa percent), Baltimore (27 percent), (27 and Philadelphia (22 percent), (23 percent), report of continue to the highest percentage cocaine. Cocaine reportsthe in in laboratories UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 58. National Forensic Laboratory 2017 State, Reports by of Cocaine Forensic 58. National Figure Source: DEA be attributed to recent law enforcement success, as success, enforcement law recent to be attributed Januarywere seized from tons – metric five more than to the region. the drug flow disrupted which April 2019, After a brief period of stability, the number of the number Afterperiod of stability, a brief forensic reports cocaine to total submitted and 2017, 2016 between rose laboratories high of continuing impact demonstrating the region (see in the Andean cocaine production 230,436 were there In 2017, Figure 57). NFLIS, a 7.4 cocaine reports to submitted reports the 214,602 over increase percent 25 most Of the top 2016. in submitted identified drugs in NFLIS, cocaine frequently behind methamphetamine overall, third ranked percent 15 and cannabis/THC, representing 25 drug reports.of the top the Cocaine was federal second most commonly reported drug by percent, 14 representing nearly laboratories, Although cocaine after methamphetamine. are less than half of what they reports in 2017 Cocaine 2019 64 fact, ofthetop 10 states withthemost cocaine, second for both heroin andfentanyl In reports. which ranked was sixthfor cocainereports, inNFLIS in2017.heroin reports Pennsylvania, were alsoamong thefive states withthemost Illinois—two Midwest states—Ohio andIllinois— Texas,reports—Ohio, New York, Florida, and Of thetop five states withthemostcocaine West. the burgeoningentrenchmentofcocainein in2017,cocaine reports highlighting further methamphetamine, submitted theninthmost market has historically beendominated by Denver (18 percent). California, whosestimulant West, suchasinSanFrancisco (25percent) and availability, alsoincreasedinthe cocainereports respectively). Mostlikely dueto increasedoverall (24cocaine reports percent and18 percent, and Cincinnatishowing highpercentages of in theMidwest, withlaboratories inChicago third straightyear, increased cocainereports South significantlyincreased over 2016. For the inNFLIS, 2017Reports Figure 59.Top 10 Heroin,Fentanyl, States withthe Most and Cocaine Source: DEA
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED populations ofallthree locationsrepresenta level However, ofreports. theheavy druguser small territories, whichaccountsfor thelower Massachusetts, andRhodeIslandhave relatively datasets may bebecauseWashington, DC, of significantcorrelationbetween thesetwo Thelack and theninthmostcocainereports. highest cocaine-involved overdose deathrate involved had theseventh deaths.Maryland also inthetop five for highestrates ofcocaine- New York, Florida,andIllinois—onlyOhiowas Texas,with themostcocainereports—Ohio, overdose rates for cocaine.Ofthetop five states Virginia hadthelargestageadjusted drug- Rhode Island,Ohio,Massachusetts, andWest drug overdose data reveals Washington DC, overdose deaths.Analysisofstate-level 2017 andcocaine-involvedbetween cocainereports In 2017, thereappearedto belimited correlation deaths. continuing riseofcocaineandfentanyl overdose throughout theUnited States, resultinginthe proliferation offentanyl and thecontinued in theUnited States increased availability of cocaine’soverall due to acombination cocaine. Thismay be fentanyl withthatof markets ofheroin and between theopioid continued connection emphasizes the 59). Thisfurther categories (seeFigure all threemajordrug overlapped among sevenreports, states heroin, andfentanyl Cocaine 65
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: Wilmington, Massachusetts Police Department Massachusetts Source: Wilmington, Figure 60. Counterfeit Xanax Pills Also Pills Xanax 60. Counterfeit Figure Containing Fentanyl and Cocaine Use powder in both consumption, Rising cocaine a significant to contributes form, and crack deaths in the of drug poisoning number Some regions of the States. United increases are seeing significant States United UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Cocaine encapsulated in a clear capsule was discovered in New Jersey in late 2018. Cocaine and Cocaine and 2018. in late Jersey in New discovered in a clear capsule was Cocaine encapsulated on the East Coast. Also instances, both in two form in tablet together been found alprazolam have were cocaine and buprenorphine Jersey, in New in August in orange tablets present together MA PD the Wilmington, In January 2019, 2018. where the decedent overdose an investigated (see Figure 60). Xanax pills reportedly ingested prescription be identical to The pills appeared to alprazolam (Xanax) 2-milligram pills, but were two revealed testing Further counterfeit. actually alprazolam and fentanyl, for positive pills were alprazolam and for positive and one pill tested cocaine and alprazolam cocaine. In April 2018, NJ. in Glassboro, found were tablets Whether these instances are harbingers of a new trend, an experiment, or simply the result of or simply trend, an experiment, these instances are harbingers of a new Whether and capsulizing be seen. Tableting poly-drugaccidental contamination within operations remains to with a market to capitalize on the considerably larger CPD user traffickers allow cocaine may lower and abundance cocaine’s Additionally, furthercocaine, of version different maximizing profits. prescription and less readily available more expensive for substitute it an attractive make price may to CPD stimulant influence or cut costs and expand their market to looking traffickers stimulants to the size of roughly users fix. The size of the current simulant user population is seeking a cheaper to nearly or capsulize cocaine who tablet traffickers allowing the current cocaine user population, user market. double the size of their potential Open-source information indicates most cocaine users prefer to inject or insufflate (snort) inject or insufflate cocaine to cocaine users most prefer indicates information Open-source established these Despite inhalation (smoking). prefer or free-base cocaine users while most crack form. tablet seize cocaine in pill or sporadically enforcement local law DEA and preferences, be instances of what appeared to seizures yielded several and early 2019, 2018 late Throughout that actually contained cocaine. prescription pills counterfeit Cocaine in Pill and Tablet Form: New Trend or Trafficker Experiment? Trafficker or Trend New Form: and Tablet Cocaine in Pill relatively large portion large drug relatively respective of their deaths overdose therefore, using population; outsized effect. had an have Cocaine 2019 66 and RhodeIsland. Washington DC,Ohio,Delaware, West Virginia, drug-overdose rates for cocainedeathswere in overdose datareveals thegreatest ageadjusted 2016 to 2017. Analysis ofstate-level 2017 drug in cocaine-involved overdose deathsfrom 60). Thisrepresentsa34.4percent increase deaths intheUnited States in2017 (seeFigure the CDC,therewere 13,942 cocaine-involved cocaine-involved overdose deaths.According to is amajorfactor behindthesustainedrisein prevalence offentanyl inthecocainesupply other year sinceatleast1999. Thecontinuing cocaine deathsrecorded in2017 thanany straight increased foryear, thefifth withmore cocaine-involvedreported drugpoisoning deaths use compared withother drugs.TheCDC with lower levels ofcocaineavailability and lowcontinue tofatalities concurrent report in cocaine-involved deathsandother areas
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: Centers for Disease Control andPrevention Figure 61. 2017Figure 61. Cocaine-involved Overdose Deaths per 100,000 Population UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED subside. However, many timescocaineand comedown theeffects ofthecocaine after or fentanyl) helpingto sharp easetheotherwise the cocainewithdepressant(heroin and/ desired outcomeisto experience the“high”of mixing cocaineandopioidsintentionally, the heroin, andfentanyl) continueto increase.When and heroin) and“superspeedballs”(cocaine, submissionsof“speedballs”(cocaine Laboratory along theEastCoastandSouth. widespread throughout previously hard-hit areas fentanyl mixtures,overdoses, anddeathsremain Midwest andGreat Plains regions.Cocaineand trend into new markets, inthe particularly both cocaineandfentanyl drives thedangerous throughout theUnited States. Highavailability of synthetic opioidsremainsasignificantthreat The mixtureofcocainewithfentanyl andother Cocaine and Fentanyl Cocaine 67
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG However as in recent years, the overwhelming overwhelming the years, recent as in However reports fentanyl and of cocaine, heroin, majority contaminated cross NFLIS are not to submitted most therefore, only one drug; and contain speedball” mixtures and “super “speedball” are almost certainly at the mixed still not remain mostly and the majority wholesale-level at the retail-level. unintentional with the most states those Correlation between speedball reportsspeedball/super and overdose correlation similar to weak, was death rates reports cocaine overdose and overall between Massachusetts, deaths. Only three states—Ohio, the low Despite and Maryland—overlapped. NFLIS reportscorrelation between of speedball/ multiple deaths, super speedballs and overdose reportFDs continue to of seizures and instances cocaine and fentanyl. deaths involving overdose cocaine a number of atypical 2018, Throughout outside the traditional East markets—those to strongholds—began Coast and Midwest UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Fentanyl in Cocaine: Less Purposeful Adulterant, More Accidental Contaminate More Accidental Adulterant, in Cocaine: Less Purposeful Fentanyl Fentanyl’s relative low price and high availability most likely make it an attractive adulterant, as adulterant, it an attractive make most likely price and high availability low relative Fentanyl’s appeal as Considering fentanyl’s market. increasing presence in the heroin fentanyl’s by shown inadvertent from resulted mixtures probably fentanyl-cocaine opioids, many for an adulterant types of drugs, such various process to drug dealers using the same equipment contamination by only their prefer users DEA assesses that the majority of stimulant and opioid Further, as heroin. and seek out “speedballs” purposefully would subset chosen drugs and only a limited respective of many and general preferences the lack of pharmacological similarity “super speedballs.” Given dealers are making a concerted most mid- or street-level drug users, DEA assess it is unlikely many provides of most DTOs the polydrug nature Instead, mixtures. effort sell cocaine-fentanyl to opportunities cross-contamination. for Analysis of DEA reporting does not provide a single, unifying explanation for why fentanyl and and fentanyl why for unifying explanation a single, Analysis of DEA reporting provide does not mixed are most likely cocaine and fentanyl are increasing but does indicate cocaine exhibits Signature Analysis of CSP and Fentanyl States. the United enters aftersometime each product cross- fentanyl evidence of cocaine and (FSPP) reports significant Program show does not Profiling fentanyl). (for reaching the SWB country or prior to cocaine) contamination either in the source (for Since 2013, laboratories from 36 states, 36 states, from laboratories Since 2013, DC have Puerto Rico, and Washington, reportssubmitted “super of “speedball” and to 2013 NFLIS. From to speedball” mixtures increased nearly these reports have 2017, reports only 18 from in five percent 15,000 Puerto 2,695 in 34 states, to in 2013 states Since DC in 2017. Rico, and Washington, in Ohio, Massachusetts, laboratories 2013, Virginia, and Florida have Pennsylvania, the most “speedball” and “super submitted speedball” reports (see Figure 62). Ohio, been in the have and Virginia Massachusetts, with the most reportsyear. every states five top fentanyl are packaged together for street sale sale street for together are packaged fentanyl dealers’—the users’—andthe without sometimes users who are target These mixtures knowledge. fentanyl are consuming they unaware typically of tolerance the opioid have not and may to usershabitual opioid and thus are more likely than those who reaction an adverse experience the opioid. sought out intentionally Cocaine 2019 68 • were not aware they were takingfentanyl. seen anuptickinfentanyl. However, patients addiction treatmentfor cocaine.Both have also of cocaineoverdose seeking victimsandusers showconcentrated aninflux intheNortheast, andtreatmentclinics, primarily departments fentanyl. Additionally, from emergency reporting involved overdose deaths,both withandwithout Maine correlated withasharp growth incocaine- fentanyl mixturesthroughout Wisconsinand ofcocaineand mixtures. Increasingreports noteworthyreport levels ofcocaineandfentanyl
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT cocaine. analysis revealed they consumed fentanyl-laced only intended to usecocaine;however, toxicology using whatthey believed to becocaine.Thevictims combination ofcocaineand fentanyl, despite only three individualsoverdosed, withonefatality, ona In September 2018, indicated SanDiegoFDreporting Source: DEA Figure 62.Top Five Speedball and States withthe Most Super Speedball Reports in NFLIS, 2013 –2017 inNFLIS,Super 2013 Speedball Reports UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED • • • opioids. revived withnaloxone, indicatingthepresenceof denied takingfentanyl. Anumberofthevictimswere using cocaineand fallingillafter Victims reported fatality was linked to cocainelacedwithfentanyl. California resultingin12hospitalizationsandone 2019,In January amassoverdose event inChico, street andisagrowing threatinthearea. cocaine mixed withfentanyl was still available onthe 2019 from February St. LouisDOreporting shows area was linked to cocainelacedwithfentanyl. In December2018, an overdose intheFlorissant,MO fentanyl. “speedball” consisting ofcrack cocainelacedwith alsoreferences atleastReporting oneinstance ofa contributing to therisingnumberofoverdose fatalities. indicated speedballsmaintainapresenceinthearea, In October 2018, ColumbusDistrict Officereporting Cocaine 69 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Colombia-sourced cocaine continues to to continues cocaine Colombia-sourced DEA’s to According market. U.S. the dominate of samples 90 percent approximately CSP, in Colombia. originated in 2018 analyzed the dominate to continue TCOs Colombian due to States the United to cocaine supply working and long standing their experience Caribbean, Central American, relationships with traffickers. and Mexican UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 63. Colombian Cocaine Production, 2007 – 2018 2007 Production, 63. Colombian Cocaine Figure
Source: U.S. Government Estimates Government Source: U.S.
According to USG estimates, coca cultivation cultivation coca USG estimates, to According remain in Colombia production and cocaine off. potential Estimated be leveling may high but Colombia decreased in pure cocaine production 887 to in 2017 tons 900 metric slightly from and export cocaine quality 2018 in tons metric in tons metric 1,060 from decreased as well Similarly, in 2018. tons metric 1,040 to 2017 measured in hectares (ha), coca cultivation, 209,000 ha a minor decrease from experienced coca Although ha in 2018. 208,000 to in 2017 in Colombia remained at historically cultivation year since the first it was in 2018, high levels increase did not production that crop 2012 and cocaine (see Figure 63). Coca cultivation still at the second were in 2018 totals production recorded. ever highest levels Production Cocaine 2019 70 r. points to thepossibility thatdomesticsupplyis for Thisdecrease also cocaineimportation. already intheUnited States, reducing theneed likely means thereisasurplus ofcocaine at least2010 The decrease (seeFigure64). 2017, whichsaw themostcocaineseizedsince decrease may betheresultofrecord seizuresin in 2017 to 26,598kilogramsin2018. This decreased 21.7 percent from 33,981 kilograms (40.7 percent). Nationwide, cocaineseizures percent), withthesecondmostseized inTexas along theSWB was seizedinCalifornia (50.1 kilograms). Themajorityofcocaineseized 2017 (13,255 kilograms) and2018 (10,684 along theSWB decreased19.4 percent between According to CBPinformation, cocaineseizures Distribution Transportation and
Includes the50stat NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: Customs andBorder Protection es, Washington, Rico,theU.S. VirginIslands,andGuam. DC,Puerto Figure 64. Customs and BorderProtection Customs NationwideFigure 64. and Southwest Border Cocaine Seizures, 2010 –2018 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED gross weight ofnationwide According to DEAdrugremoval data,thetotal the United States for thehigherpotential profits. cocaine to Europe, Asia,andAustralia instead of changed tacticsandbegunto smugglemore United States; therefore, traffickers may have prices areconsiderablyhigheroutsideofthe outpacing currentdemand.Wholesalekilogram existing the suppliesandpossiblydiverting new trend:Traffickers may be exhausting This recentdeclinealso highlightsapotential consistent withother law enforcement sources. 65). ThedecreaseinDEAcocaineremovals is removed inthelasttwo decades (seeFigure in 2012, with2017 recording themostcocaine increased overall since reachingarecord low 2017 to 92,942.7 kilogramsin2018. Removals fell 18.4 percent from 113,999.5 kilogramsin r cocaineremovals
Cocaine 71 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG cocaine removals. Although neither SWB states states neither SWB Although cocaine removals. among the top were both nor coastal states, for cocaine reportsto NFLIS and are states five with the highest among the states consistently deaths. of cocaine-overdose rate age-adjusted major metropolises, and Ohio have Illinois Both OH that are e.g., Chicago, IL and Cleveland, drugs important transshipment zones for and have and out of the Midwest, into travelling airportshigh-traffic international and entrenched their continued accounting for cocaine markets, five. inclusion in the top UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 65. DEA Nationwide Cocaine Removals, 2006 – 2018 Removals, Cocaine DEA Nationwide 65. Figure Source: DEA State-level DEA (net weight) cocaine removals cocaine removals weight) DEA (net State-level established previously generally followed occurred The highest removals patterns. major land border with primarily in states airports, high-traffic international or crossings, also highest in states were seaports. Removals as along the Gulf and as well near the SWB East Coasts (see Figure 66). Ohio and Illinois with the largest among the states also were excess cocaine to other markets (e.g. Europe (e.g. Europe markets other cocaine to excess the cocaine into bringing more or Asia) before also may removals Decreasing States. United on the focus be the result of the nationwide combat the opioid epidemic opioid crisis. To to be required may FDs most effectively, and include time, money, divert resources—to non- into investigations from personnel—away opioid drugs, such as cocaine. Cocaine 2019 72 unrelated containers. among legitimate dispersed containers and Traffickers concealcocaine withincargo often alternatives to overland trafficking routes. and routes transitingtheCaribbeanaspotential trucks andcontinueto target domesticseaports cocaine amonglegitimate cargoofcommercial within passengervehicles. Traffickers alsohide built hide cocaineinsidesecret compartments smuggle cocaineacross theSWB. Traffickers method usedtovehicles remaintheprimary throughout theUnited States. Privately owned variety cocaineinto ofmethods to and transport Cocaine traffickingorganizationsuseawide
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 66.DEAState-Level Cocaine Removals, 2018 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED • •
a loadofpineapplesalsodestined for Europe. November 2018 seizureof516 kilogramsofcocainein with ashipmentoflimes.This seizurefollowed alate approximately 205kilogramsofcocaine comingled container was destined for Belgiumandcontained to containanundetermined amountofcocaine.The interdicted ofSavanah acontaineratthePort believed Hong Kong CityCO, CO,andthePanama CO,Frankfurt Office (CO),BrusselsCO,Madrid Rome Country RO, Memphisin coordination RO, withtheCartagena In December2018, theSavannah andMemphis ROs, thecoast ofMexico. cocaine off 262 balestotaling approximately 5,240 kilogramsof and escapedcapture. TheUSCGwas ableto locate the crew onthego-fast jettisoned balesofcocaine containing cocaine.Duringtheattempt to interdict, Guard (USCG)to detain ago-fast vessel allegedly In July2018, theMiamiFDcoordinated withU.S. Coast Cocaine 73 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
Source: Customs and Border Protection and Border Source: Customs Figure 67. Cocaine Concealed Under Concealed Cocaine 67. Figure Vessel Cargo of a Floorboards UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In January 2019, CBP and Homeland Security In January 2019, acting on information (HSI) Ventura, Investigations DEA,vessel seized a cargo container by provided Ecuador containing pineapples and arriving from originally planned cocaine. The vessel suspected was but offload the cocaine in Guatemala, to Port continued to Hueneme, unsuccessful. The vessel inspecting officers where California, noted Ventura, the ventilation tape visible through packing brown holes in the flooring of the cargo hold. After removing the floor panels, officers seized 80 tape-wrapped of 92.649 kilograms a total weighing cocaine bricks drug seizure at the largest (see Figure 67). This was the Port of Hueneme in 25 years. This seizure indicates sustained law enforcement pressure at airports, seaports, enforcement and land border sustained law This seizure indicates smuggle cocaine to and scouts lookouts and, most likely, drones, The use of an ATV, crossings. enforcement that an unrelenting law POEs at atypical entry traditional indicate between may points a shiftforcing in routes, disrupt established drug trafficking continues to presence along the SWB routes. smuggling tactics and trafficking Over the last several years, USBP and DEA offices located along the Rio Grande River have seized have along the Rio Grande River offices located USBP and DEA years, the last several Over Traffickers States. the United into the river across loads of cocaine smuggled multi-kilogram several ferrying cars drug-laden from transport the river: to methods the drugs across various employed it is are routine, the SWB large cocaine seizures throughout skis. While jet raftsto and even a section of of cocaine smuggled through a multi-hundred kilogram load encounter unusual to with cocaine smuggling. DEA and USBP traditionally associated an area not the Rio Grande River, as TX and its conjoining section of the Rio Grande River Rio Grande City, identified previously States. the United into Mexico smuggle marijuana from primarily used to In January 2019, USBP agents, in cooperation with the McAllen RO, disrupted traffickers attempting attempting traffickers disrupted McAllen RO, with the agents, in cooperation USBP In January 2019, a property in Rio to transport River the Rio Grande to across large burlap sacks use an ATV to weighing bricks of cocaine, sacks contained 270 burlap recovered TX. The 10 Grande City, radios. The McAllen cell phones, cameras, and kilograms, along with multiple 320 approximately the property on City. in Rio Grande aircraft found a drone also seized RO Uncommon Location for Cocaine Smuggling Attempt Smuggling Cocaine for Location Uncommon • Cocaine 2019 74 Cocaine andFentanyl Seizure system. vigilance alongtheU.S. interstate highway oftrafficstops andhigh continuing importance large amountoffentanyl seizedhighlightsthe to causeoverdoses andoverdose deaths.The most remarkable dueto fentanyl’s potential fentanyl thatwas believed to be cocaineis in 2018. However, findingof thelaboratory’s methamphetamine seizureshave increased in Ohioissignificantasboth cocaineand and 13 poundsofsuspected methamphetamine kilogramsofsuspectedA seizureof44 cocaine of 4-ANPP, afentanyl precursor. 33.08 kilogramsoffentanyl andasmallamount containing cocaineactuallycontainedatotal of revealed several packages suspected of ultimately CentralLaboratory by theDEANorth pounds ofmethamphetamine. However, analysis approximately kilogramsofcocaineand13 44 of suspected narcotics believed to contain law enforcement found personnel 57 packages subsequent search ofthetruck’scargoarea, presence ofnarcotics inthevehicle. Duringthe stopping aK-9 thetruck, search indicated the Patrol effected personnel anotable seizure.After Columbus DistrictOfficeandOhioState Highway While conductingatrafficstop inMay 2018,
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED limited law enforcement presence. have lessstringentsecurityprotocols andamore commercial often smuggling.Private airports to augment airports airplanes andsecondary More andmore,traffickers areutilizingprivate increasingly destinedfor domesticaddresses. the United States, Rico,andtheUSVI Puerto are however, mailshipmentssentfrom throughout United States intended for foreign destinations; transitthroughshipments ofcocaineoften the hundred kilogramsinasingleshipment.Mail can rangefrom underakilogramto several Cocaine commingledwithlegitimate cargo from South AmericanandCaribbeanairports. commercial originating flights,mostoften also smugglesmallquantities ofcocaineon the Caribbeaninto theUnited States. Couriers smuggling cocainefrom SouthAmericaand conveyance method for cocainetraffickers Commercial airisanother widelyused • • wrappers andpostalwrappers packages. firearms,as assorted well asnumerous empty kilogram of heroin, approximately 37 gramsofmarijuana,five 2.5 kilogramsofcocaine,approximately 34 grams house, which resulted intheseizureofapproximately Detroit DOobtainedsearch warrants for thestash Arizona to astash house inPontiac,Michigan. The containing ahalf-kilogramofcocainesentfrom Tucson, coordination withtheUSPIS,intercepted aparcel In November 2018, theDetroit DOTask Force, in cocaine (total amountequivalent to 1kilogram). X-rays revealed 80pellets, each containingpowdered courier admitted to swallowing pellets ofnarcotics. inspection forcourier into aninterview. secondary The placedthesuspected CBPofficers International Airport. Domingo, DominicanRepublic to JohnF. Kennedy travelingregarding apossiblebody-carrier from Santo CBP, acted onintelligence from theSanto DomingoCO In October 2018, theNew York FD,incooperationwith Cocaine 75 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
The United States can expect high cocaine high can expect States The United and rising overdose prices, lower availability, in the short continue levels High deaths to term. production and cocaine of coca cultivation persist. As a result, to likely in Colombia are rise while continue to may cocaine availability of cocaine will supplies elevated steady, further prices. With a down most likely drive available of cocaine possible overabundance to continue seizures may SWB domestically, expanding keep will likely decline and traffickers the Due to less traditional markets. new, into and other of fentanyl ongoing proliferation domestic the expanded opioids into synthetic deaths will cocaine-involved cocaine supply, the near future, with the rise for continue to only previously reach epidemic levels to potential years. few with opioids in the next associated Outlook Cocaine 2019 76
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MARIJUANA Overview San Diego, and Seattle—indicated marijuana was more available in their areas than in the previous Marijuana remains illegal under federal law; reporting period. The El Paso FD indicated that however, the national landscape continues marijuana was less available in their AOR than to evolve as states enact voter referenda and last year. legislation regarding the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana and its associated Figure 68. Field Division Reporting of products. As the most commonly used illicit Marijuana Availability in CY 2018 and drug in the United States, marijuana is widely Comparison to CY 2017 available and cultivated in all 50 states. The Availability Availability popularity of marijuana use, the demand for Field Division During Compared to increasingly potent marijuana and marijuana CY 2018 CY 2017 products, the potential for substantial profit, Atlanta Field Division High Stable and the perception of little risk entice diverse Caribbean Field Division Moderate Stable traffickers and criminal organizations to cultivate Chicago Field Division High Stable Dallas Field Division High Stable and distribute illegal marijuana throughout the Denver Field Division High More United States. Detroit Field Division High Stable El Paso Field Division Moderate Less Mexico remains the most significant foreign Houston Field Division High Stable source for marijuana in the United States. Los Angeles Field Division High Stable In 2018, along the SWB, CBP seized Louisville Field Division High Stable nearly 300,000 kilograms of marijuana in Miami Field Division High Stable approximately 9,000 incidents. Lesser volumes New England Field Division High More of marijuana are smuggled into the United Sates New Jersey Field Division Moderate Stable High More from Canada and the Caribbean. New Orleans Field Division New York Field Division High Stable Omaha Field Division High More Availability Philadelphia Field Division High Stable In 2018, the majority of FDs indicated marijuana Phoenix Field Division High Stable availability was high in their area, meaning San Diego Field Division High More San Francisco Field Division High Stable marijuana is easily obtained at any time. Seattle Field Division High More Two FDs—El Paso and New Jersey—indicated St. Louis Field Division High Stable marijuana availability in their AORs was Washington Field Division High Stable moderate, meaning marijuana is generally Source: DEA readily accessible (see Figure 68). Six FDs— Denver, New England, New Orleans, Omaha,
UNCLASSIFIED 77 Marijuana 2019 78 methamphetamine, cocaine,andheroin. laboratories, representing5percent, behind drug mostcommonly reported by the fifth federal surpassing cocaine. Overall, cannabis/THCwas commonly identifieddrugsince2008after cannabis/THC hadbeenthesinglemost percent Previously, ofthetop 25drugreports. with methamphetamine, both representing22 in NFLIS,cannabis/THCtiedfor first overall Of thetop 25mostfrequently identifieddrugs over the374,721 submitted in2016. reports submitted to NFLIS,an8.2percent decrease 2017, therewere 344,167 marijuanareports continued to declinein2017 (seeFigure69).In to forensicCannabis/THC reports laboratories
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 69.National Forensic ofMarijuana 2006–2017 Reports Laboratory UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED of July2019. state-approved marijuanameasurespassedas of marijuana.Figure70reflectsthecategories of relating to theuse,possession,andcultivation states have approved avariety ofmeasures federal law; however, since1996, individual Act (CSA). Marijuanaremainsillegalunder was replaced by the 1970Controlled Substances since the1937 MarijuanaTax Act, whichlater Federal prohibition onmarijuanahasexisted Measures Marijuana State-Approved Marijuana 79 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 70. Current State-Approved Marijuana Status – July 2019 – July Status Marijuana State-Approved 70. Current Figure Source: DEA The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into signed into Bill, which was Farm the 2018 into incorporated was of 2018 Act Farming The Hemp on December 20, 2018. law The amending clauses in the legislation allowed the CSA to define hemp primarily and both the CSA primarily and both define hemp the CSA to The amending clauses in the legislation allowed function jointly. to Act and Agricultural Marketing “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof part any L. and the plant Cannabis sativa means of that plant, including the seeds thereof ‘hemp’ “The term or cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, extracts, growing whether and all derivatives, than 0.3 percent on a dry more of not concentration basis.” weight with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol not, According to the bill language, hemp is now defined as: defined is now the bill language, hemp to According The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 legalized industrial hemp with THC concentration of no more than with THC hemp legalized industrial of 2018 Act Farming The Hemp Schedule I of the CSA. The bill also amended the Agriculturalit from removing by 0.3 percent and States production. regulation of hemp and tribal state allow to of 1946 Act Marketing States the United submitting plans to by production hemp regulate American tribes may Native crop federal both eligible for producers hemp Department The bill makes of Agriculture (USDA). the rights and access to water producers hemp grants, and gives research insurance and USDA national banking system. H.R. 5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018 Act H.R. 5485 - Hemp Farming Marijuana 2019 80 looking to exploit state legalization. federal levels for and creates those opportunities enforcement atthe local,state, tribal,and overlap.often Thiscreates challengesfor law United States. Illicitandstate-approved markets the dynamicfor law enforcement across the State-approved marijuanamarkets arechanging • • • trafficked into the United States. markets, aswell asforeign-produced marijuana traffickers obtainsuppliesfrom allthree and arebestdescribedindependently. Criminal illicit; however, thesemarkets operate differently markets. Federally, thesethreeareconsidered and state-approved use/recreational personal state-approved medicalmarijuanamarkets, operating intheUnited States: illicitmarkets, There arethreetypesofmarijuanamarkets U.S. Marijuana Markets
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT legal understate law andwhatisnot. evolving laws, which blurthelinesbetween whatis marijuana hascreated unique vague andoften or each state allowing for use recreationalorpersonal andretailproducers stores. Aswithmedicalmarijuana, are suppliedby agrowing numberofstate-approved State-approved usemarkets recreationalandpersonal than through state-licensed retailers. licensed growers isdiverted andsoldillicitlyrather Additionally, somemarijuanaproduced by state- not legalatthestate level, thusincreasingtheirprofit. inmarketssome orallofit,often wheremarijuanais Instead ofusingwhatthey purchase orgrow, they sell produce oracquire marijuanaorproducts. or groups exploit medicalmarijuanaallowances to the illicitmarket inseveral ways. Someindividuals State-approved medicalmarijuanaisdiverted to legalized marijuana. large-scale illicitgrow operationsinstates thathave domestic marijuanaproduction, establishing often DTOsMany andpoly-drug poly-crime areinvolved in intended for distribution across theUnited States. organized groups growing largequantities ofmarijuana from individualsgrowing alimited numberofplantsto various typesandsizesoforganizations.Theserange Illicit domestic-produced marijuanaiscultivated by UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED • • anticipated by state governments. businesses andundercut thetaxrevenues techniques to shelter profits from marijuana organizations utilizelong-standingblackmarket revenue streams,includingfrom TCOs. These marijuana businessesflows from illicit indicates thatfinancialbacking for some level approval, law enforcement reporting Although many marijuanamarkets have state- •
marijuana to other states to sellfor profit. ounce. Somecustomers largequantities transported of state law limitinganindividual’spossessionto one purchases onthesameday by customers, despite were aware thatemployees were allowing for multiple from thesamedispensaries.Thebusinessowners in which customers mademultiplepurchases aday market. Thescheme involved thepracticeof“looping,” marijuana diverted from theirdispensariesto theblack investigation thatrevealed morethantwo tons of drug andracketeering charges stemming from an marijuana businessinDenver pleadedguiltyto 2019,In January theowners ofastate-licensed Newark, New Jersey. The marijuanawas enroute reportedly to Dallasand state-licensed marijuanacultivation facilityinColorado. thedriver was theownerreports, andoperator ofa a ColoradoresidentdrivinganRV. According to press the seizureofalmost 500poundsofmarijuanafrom 2019,In January atraffic stop in Texas resulted in access it. a front doororhallway, whereunknown could persons delivered marijuanato unattended locations,such as to presentamedicalmarijuanacard. Thedefendants marijuana andedibleswithoutrequiring acustomer operated amedicalmarijuanawebsite thatsold from 2015 service delivery to 2018. Onedefendant inMassachusetts for operatingamarijuana grand jury In May 2019, two individualswere indicted by afederal Marijuana 81
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Increasing PotencyIncreasing continue and availability production As domestic marijuana of THC potency the does rise, so too to (see Figure products concentrate and marijuana legalized that have of the states None 71). with limitshas placed on THC potency, marijuana Cannabidiol with of those states the exception (CBD)-only provisions. smokable promote ads routinely Print and online THC or more of 30 percent marijuana at levels Some marijuana dispensaries. in retail available with THC products boast marijuana concentrate Increased THC 90 percent. exceeding levels industry. the marijuana to limited is not potency also capitalized have growers Black market with of plant strains on the wide availability CBD low most of which have high THC content, of Mississippi’s the University Data from content. that average shows Program Monitoring Potency concentrated and traditional in both THC potency reaching the marijuana increased in 2018, UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED and Concentrated Marijuana, 1995 – 2018 Marijuana, Concentrated and Figure 71. Average THC and Cannabidiol Potency of Traditional of Traditional Potency Cannabidiol THC and 71.Figure Average
Source: University of Mississippi Source: University
Both state-licensed and illicit domestic and illicit state-licensed Both increase. to continue production marijuana in specifically marijuana production, Expanding the drug, has led to legalized that have states black market Meanwhile, markets. saturated in grow to continues marijuana production and Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, marijuana, legalized that have states other illicit in prices for decline creating an overall further This marijuana as well. incentivizes operating large-scale trafficking organizations customers to sell to in these states sites grow and East the Midwest throughout in markets a higher Coast, where marijuana commands via mail and price. Marijuana is also shipped consignment shipping services the express from In the USVI, the USVI. to mainland States United marijuana users desire marijuana with generally and often obtain it from a higher THC content where the use of States areas in the United medical marijuana is legal. Domestic Production UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT highest levels ever recorded by the program growing their own marijuana. The rest allow for (see Figure 71). In the past five years, the private grows in the general range of 6 to 12 average THC potency of traditional marijuana plants with varying stipulations on how many has increased 35 percent (from 11.98 percent can be mature plants and how many can be to 16.16 percent) and the average THC potency seedlings. Among those, Colorado remains as of concentrated marijuana has increased 22 an outlier. While a state law enacted in 2018 percent (from 49.98 percent to 60.95 percent). limits home grows to 12 total plants within a residence, medical marijuana patients can Indoor Grow Operations still get higher plant recommendations from State-approved private marijuana cultivation, physicians and can legally grow up to 99 plants, often referred to as “home grows,” has changed provided the grow is not located in a residential the nationwide marijuana trafficking landscape. property. State laws vary widely with regard to how many Indoor cultivation provides year-round harvests, medical and recreational plants an individual is added privacy, and security compared to outdoor allowed to cultivate and whether or not medical cultivation. Indoor grows can yield marijuana marijuana patients are required to register home regardless of climate conditions or growing grows with the state. Consequently, it is largely seasons. Personal home grows are often located unknown how many people may be cultivating in residential houses, though some large marijuana within the parameters of state- medical marijuana grows and cooperative grows approved marijuana legality. can be found in warehouses or industrial space. Of states with some form of legalized marijuana, about one-third prohibit private residents from
Criminal Organizations and Marijuana Profits
Where personal marijuana cultivation is legal, growing marijuana for profit offers traffickers substantial profit with little risk. A grower with some experience and the proper equipment can produce up to one pound of marijuana per plant per 90-day growing cycle. Therefore, six marijuana plants can produce roughly 24 pounds of marijuana in a year (six pounds X four growing cycles). The average black market price for high quality indoor marijuana is $800 - $1,000 per pound, meaning growers can potentially earn $19,200-$24,000 per year from six “legal” plants. Prices are higher in state markets where marijuana is not legal, meaning growers can command double or even triple the average black market price.
DEA reporting indicates criminal trafficking organizations with substantial experience, equipment, and resources are able to produce up to 1,800 pounds of marijuana per year for every 100 plants cultivated, earning as much as $5.4 million in that time from those 100 plants.
82 UNCLASSIFIED Marijuana 83 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: DEA Large outdoor grow sites have significant have sites Large outdoor grow Millions of impacts. environmental negative acres of public lands are at risk of devastation Large of marijuana. the illegal cultivation from rubbish of toxic tons operations produce grow the landscape and that permeate and waste poisoning and destroying by endanger wildlife Refuge natural habitats. The National Wildlife and the Klamath Nevada, in California, System to Basin reports are dangerous these sites Outdoor Grow Operations Grow Outdoor of a variety in conducted are grows Outdoor public multiple-acre to backyards from settings, co-mingled among are frequently lands, and (see and natural vegetation crops legitimate on public lands cultivation Figure 73). Marijuana legalization, likely state despite is undiminished large to be made on profits the sizeable due to marijuana. and untaxed fields of unregulated areas often on public lands are remote in Grows to expensive to access and that are difficult law for are challenging grows maintain. These and eradicate. discover to enforcement Seized in Eastern Grow 73. Outdoor Figure 2018 Washington, UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: DEA Marijuana grow homes often sustain severe homes often sustain severe Marijuana grow structural damage. Moisture, condensation, the residence. and mold can spread throughout often in floors cut holes and Illegal growers tubes, install ventilation to in order walls exterior in with electrical systems as tamper as well lights grow high-power supply multiple to order Figure units (see and industrial air-conditioning with loose and electrical systems 72). Altered fertilizersentangled wires; flammable and such as propane materials, chemicals; explosive subfloors; booby and butane; holes cut into to hazards all pose clear traps; and weapons the to or police officers responding firefighters residence in an emergency. The conversion of residential properties into properties of residential into conversion The risks significant presents greenhouses marijuana neighbors, utility companies, homeowners, to large require and first responders. Indoor grows and artificial creating light, of water amounts local utilities. Neighborhoods high demand on blown experience grows with large or many groups Trafficking and blackouts. transformers wiring directly into illegally by power often steal up the which drives system, the city’s power and customers legitimate for price of power fire hazard. a significant creates Figure 72. Indoor Marijuana Grow with Grow Marijuana 72. Indoor Figure Wiring to Electrical Modifications Marijuana 2019 84 Almost half(46percent) ofthebulkprocessed and 4percent (111,838) inWashington. followed by 15 percent (418,076) inKentucky percent64 (1.8 million)were inCalifornia, (113). Ofthetotal number ofplantseradicated, (209),Colorado(114),Maryland andIndiana topped thelistat516 indoorgrows, followed by (574), andTennessee (420).Likewise, California outdoor grows followed by Kentucky (614), Ohio Figures 74-76). California topped thelistat889 grow sites throughout theUnited States (see marijuana seizedfrom 5,465outdoorandindoor million plantsand316,632 poundsofprocessed law enforcement agencies,documented over 2.8 (DCE/SP), incoordination withstate andlocal Cannabis Eradication/SuppressionProgram During FiscalYear (FY)2018, theDomestic Program Eradication/Suppression Cannabis Domestic supplies. resources demandsonpower andplacesharsh of marijuanaalsothreatens statewide water expensive to findandreclaim.Illicitcultivation employees andto thepublicingeneral,andare
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 76. Number of Pounds Marijuana Seizedat ofBulk Harvested Indoor and Outdoor Grow Sites by DCE/SP, FY2017 and FY2018 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Sites by DCE/SP, FY2017 and FY2018 Eradicated fromIndoor and Outdoor Grow Figure 75.Number ofMarijuana Plants Source: DEA and FY2018 Grow Sites Eradicated by DCE/SP, FY2017 Figure 74. Number ofIndoor and Outdoor Source: DEA Marijuana 85 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In March 2019, the New York FD received information FD received York the New 2019, In March drug shipments sent suspected multiple regarding to and California Washington from via tractor-trailer investigation Queens. Follow-up facilities in storage Department Police (NYPD) and York with the New four of in the identification and arrest ICE resulted 425 pounds of suspects. Agents seized approximately cartridges of THC oil. marijuana and 8,875 the Office assisted the Orlando District In April 2019, at warrant of a search PD in the execution Apopka house. Agents seized a residence used as a stash high grade pounds of suspected 180 approximately liquid containersmarijuana, numerous with suspected containers numerous of suspected THC concentrate, bear containing gummy butane hash oil (BHO), trays edibles, packaged into THC concentrate make molds to THC vape liquid treat edibles, and numerous rice crispy containers. weapons. Agents also seized four • • acid (THCA), a Schedule Tetrahydrocannabinolic state-licensed in both I drug, is available and the illicit market. markets marijuana retail of hash, form It is advertised as the strongest THC. THCA is a 99 percent containing up to precursor of THC and is extracted biosynthetic undried cannabis from methods using various with in color, plants. It is typically clear or white or oil. of crystals, in the form powder, a texture Marijuana Concentrates/ Marijuana THC Extraction and Extracts Labs produce to continue laboratories THC extraction hashish, hash such as marijuana concentrates gained popularity in have oil, and kief, which are concentrates Marijuana States. the United and vape e-cigarettes through often ingested in are also Marijuana concentrates devices. and cookies, brownies, like edible products lotions, topical as as well candies, gummy and patches. These new tinctures, capsules, law challenges to of marijuana present forms and parents, as they educators, enforcement, and ingest than traditional conceal are easier to leafy marijuana. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
In May 2019, the Denver FD, along with numerous the Denver 2019, In May and local partners, 42 state, arrested federal, marijuana market a large black people pursuant to over investigation, During the two-year investigation. at large-scale executed were warrants 250 search operations and businesses associated marijuana grow plants and 2,200 65,000 Over with an Asian DTO. also seized. The marijuana were pounds of harvested almost this organization was by marijuana produced outside of Colorado. drug markets for entirely destined In 2018, law enforcement in King County, Washington, in King County, enforcement law In 2018, in excess seizing investigations indoor grow conducted in property Asian of $13,000,000 and currency from marijuana plants. as 8,000 as well DTOs In 2018, Washington law enforcement (assisted by (assisted enforcement law Washington In 2018, over agencies) seized enforcement law DEA and other an Asian (gold) from $7,000,000 in precious metals houses across 50 indoor grow managing over DTO counties. Marijuana seizures in the case several 39,758 plants. totaled • • •
Operations in large-scale marijuana involved DTOs Many criminal in other are also involved production fraud, international including financial activity, poly-drug laundering, and trafficking. money millions of dollars The marijuana generates that furthers activity the scope of their criminal States. United the throughout Criminal Organizations and Organizations Criminal ProductionBlack Market marijuana seized was also in California, followed followed California, also in was seized marijuana Oregon (6 percent). and percent) (17 Alaska by 11,196 there were eradication sites, the From for accounting with California seized, weapons (9,151). 82 percent Marijuana 2019 86 • discovered astheresultofafireor explosion. locations and another percent30 were reported/ extraction labswere listed atresidential percent Figure 77). of thereported Thirty-five and 26percent were inOregon(see reported percent ofthelabswere inCalifornia, reported extraction labswere to reported theNSS;57 system. For calendaryear 2018, atotal of174 theirdatatoto the report and triballaw enforcement no mandate for state, local, incidents, thoughthereis the abilityto trackthese place. EPIC’sNSShas tracking mechanismin and currentlynouniform of THCextraction labs accurate nationwide count damage. Thereisno in injuriesandstructural cause explosions, resulting butane solvent continueto Extraction labsusing achieve anintense high. inhaling thevapors) to is typicallydabbed(i.e. it isheated. Thesubstance THCA converts to THCwhen
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT investigation. glassware, andequipment were to seizedpursuant this closed loopextractor system, solvents, laboratory concentrate, a gram quantities ofTHCAcrystalline, processed marijuanahashoil,cannabisoildistillate Figure 78).Multi-kilogramquantities ofhashoil,pre- cannabis oildistillate forms (see andTHCAcrystalline Still systemMolecular Short-Path capableofproducing County DrugsSuppressionTask Force seizeda4Pope In July2018, thePhoenixFDandMaricopa Source: El Paso IntelligenceSource: ElPaso Center Figure 77. BHO/THCExtraction Laboratories Seized inthe UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Seized inPhoenix Figure 78.Pope Still Molecular Short-Path Source: DEA United States, 2018 Marijuana 87 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In April 2019, the San Diego County Regional the San Diego County Regional In April 2019, a search executed Force Task Narcotic Integrated a convicted at a residence occupied by warrant two revealed The search marijuana trafficker. Officers marijuana plants. that contained 31 bedrooms 2.46 kilograms of processed also seized approximately concentrate marijuana, three ounces of marijuana kilograms of marijuana cannabis, and 13.28 In March 2019, the San Antonio District Office located Office located District the San Antonio 2019, In March in a suspicious shipment at a transport company bins on storage executed was warrant A search Texas. approximately Agents discovered loaded on a pallet. contained in the kilograms of marijuana inside toys 77 bins. storage
• • Marijuana produced in the United States is States the United in produced Marijuana production where states from often trafficked production where states or through is legal to is marijuana produced Domestically is not. (POVs), transported vehicles personally in owned tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, vehicles, rented trailers, hauler trains, and buses as well vehicle planes. personal and commercial as through services parcel is also The use of commercial trafficking concentrated for common especially in marijuana, which are concealed of forms parcels. small containers, or flattened envelopes, UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 79. DEA Nationwide Marijuana Removals, 2006 – 2018 Removals, Marijuana 79. DEA Nationwide Figure
State-level DEA (net weight) marijuana removals removals marijuana weight) DEA (net State-level established previously generally followed occurred The highest removals patterns. with major land border primarily in states or high traffic seaports,well as crossings as medical with large recreational or in states especially markets, marijuana state-approved Coast (see Figure 80). California on the West had the largest marijuana removals, and Texas years. with previous consistent Distribution gross data, total removal DEA drug to According 11.5 rose removals marijuana nationwide weight to kilograms in 2017 319,945.7 from percent however, Overall, in 2018. kilograms 361,478.5 been declining have removals DEA marijuana high of 793,574.7 record since reaching a (see Figure 79). Removals kilograms in 2009 kilograms in of 171,870 low reached a record is most likely in removals The decrease 2014. the by presented the challenges caused by as as well changing marijuana legal landscape, opioid epidemic. the protracted Transportation andTransportation Marijuana 2019 88 commercial vehicles, buses, railsystems, are smuggledinto the United States viaPOVs, Large quantities offoreign-produced marijuana RicoandtheUSVI.increasing inPuerto local Caribbeannations;however, production is be thelargestCaribbeanmarijuanasupplierto United States and Canada.Jamaicacontinuesto lesser inquality thanmarijuanaproduced inthe “commercial-grade” marijuana, or“low-grade” Marijuana from Mexico istypicallyclassifiedas volumes from Canada and theCaribbean. United States from Mexico, and in smaller Marijuana isalsosmuggledinto the Foreign-Produced Marijuana
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT capacity magazines,andmiscellaneousammunition. a largegunsafe, containing13 weapons, 12high trimmings. Asubsequent search ofthegaragerevealed Source: DEA Figure 80.DEAState-Level Marijuana Removals, 2018
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED kilograms in 2017 to 26,598 kilogramsin2018. seizures decreased21.7 percent from 33,981 Arizona (20.4percent). Nationwide, marijuana was seizedinTexas percent), (64.7 followed by majority ofmarijuanaseized alongtheSWB kilograms) and2018 (287,464 kilograms).The decreased 39percent between 2017 (472,445 The total weight seizedby CBPalong theSWB decline asdomesticproduction increases. seizures alongtheSWB have continuedto According to CBPinformation, marijuana distribution throughout theUnited States. stored inwarehouses alongtheborder priorto been smuggledinto theUnited States, itisoften across theSWB border. Oncemarijuanahas Backpackers alsowalk loadsofmarijuana aerial vehicles/drones, andcatapults. subterranean tunnels,smallboats,unmanned Marijuana 89 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
Mexico-produced marijuana will continue to continue to marijuana will Mexico-produced in bulk States United the into be trafficked to in quality increase and may quantities marijuana. with domestic-produced compete Domestic use of marijuana remains high and remains high use of marijuana Domestic state of the prevalence increase as to is likely the perception lower continues to legalization users. The high users and potential of risk to marijuana marijuana, of high-potency availability and trendy paraphernalia products, concentrate entice users and potential continue to will likely trafficking of and users. production Domestic as more states increase marijuana will likely to current marijuana laws adopt or change or recreational marijuana establish medical state exploit criminals to allowing markets, legality. Outlook Marijuana 2019 90
NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES (NPS) Overview which cannabinoid or cathinone they are selling or consuming. This can complicate the jobs of NPS are a diverse group of synthetic substances public health and law enforcement officials who created to mimic the effects of scheduled or need to warn communities of the dangers of controlled illicit drugs. In order for a drug to be these substances and investigate their source. considered a “new” psychoactive substance, it only needs to be newly observed. Many popular Figure 81. Field Division Reporting of New NPS have existed for decades and scientists, Psychoactive Substances Availability in CY policy makers, and/or law enforcement have 2018 and Comparison to CY 2017 previously documented many varieties. Synthetic Availability Availability cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones are the Field Division During Compared to most common classes of NPS available and CY 2018 CY 2017 abused in the United States; however, there are Atlanta Field Division Low Stable many other classes of NPS including opioidss, Caribbean Field Division Low Less phenethylamines, tryptamines, benzodiazepines, Chicago Field Division Moderate Stable Dallas Field Division Low Stable and piperazines. Synthetic cannabinoids Denver Field Division Low More are commonly applied to plant material or Detroit Field Division Low Stable suspended in an oil form designed to be smoked El Paso Field Division Low Stable or used in e-cigarettes. Synthetic cathinones Houston Field Division Moderate Less are usually powdered or crystalline substances, Los Angeles Field Division High Stable usually consumed in powder, tablet, or capsule Louisville Field Division Low Stable Miami Field Division High Stable form. New England Field Division Moderate Stable New Jersey Field Division Moderate Stable Availability New Orleans Field Division Moderate Stable The NPS market continues to feature large New York Field Division Moderate More Low numbers of new substances belonging to Omaha Field Division Stable Philadelphia Field Division Moderate More diverse chemical groups. NPS are responsible Phoenix Field Division Moderate Stable for multiple occurrences of overdoses across the San Diego Field Division High Stable country in the past year, and represent a threat San Francisco Field Division Low Stable to communities when particularly strong or Seattle Field Division Moderate Stable otherwise contaminated batches of substances St. Louis Field Division Moderate Stable are sold to users. Given the multitude of NPS, Washington Field Division Moderate Stable Source: DEA traffickers and users may not know exactly s. Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl-related substances, are often included under the heading of NPS. However, given the threat posed by fentanyl, fentanyl-related substances, and other synthetic opioids in the United States, those substances are discussed in their own section of this report.
UNCLASSIFIED 91 New Psychoactive Substances 2019 92 by theUNODCevery year between 2009and year, acoregroup ofabout70NPSwas reported Althoughthemarketreported. changesevery monitoring ofNPS,130 NPSwere initially oftheUNODC’sglobal time. In2009,thestart 2016, 72NPS were identified for thefirst market for NPSremainsinconstantflux:In (UNODC). TheUNODCindicates theglobal the United NationsOfficeonDrugsandCrime acumulativereported NPSto 803different Between 2009and2017, 111 countries (see Figure81). moreavailabilityonly threedivisionsreporting compared to period,with theprevious reporting availability NPS 18divisions, reported was stable highNPSavailability.reporting Ofthe23 NPS availability was low, withonlythreedivisions NPS availability was moderate andninereported United States. In2018, 11 of23FDsreported was low ormoderate throughout the The majorityofFDsindicated NPSavailability
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Source: DEA Figure 82.Ten Frequently Most Reported Synthetic Cannabinoids in theUnited States by Percentage, 2017
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED November 2017, respectively. I controlled substancesby DEAinApril2017 and were emergencyscheduledasSchedule 5F-ADB and 28.5 percent (seeFigure82).Both FUB-AMB at common synthetic cannabinoidwas 5F-ADB percent, according to NFLIS.Thesecondmost the United States in2017 at33.8 was FUB-AMB commonly occurringsynthetic cannabinoidin in2016.synthetic cannabinoidreports Themost is relatively stablecompared to the25,350 which 25,322 synthetic cannabinoidreports, According to NFLIS,in2017 therewere Synthetic Cannabinoids now to appears have beenestablished. and ecstasy;meanwhile, amarket for someNPS drugs suchaslysergicaciddiethylamide (LSD) sometimes soldunderthenameofcontrolled these NPSontheglobalmarket. NPSarestill 2017, indicatinganestablishedpresenceof New Psychoactive Substances 93 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG New Jersey also experienced a significant number of a significant also experienced Jersey New approximately In August, incidents in 2018. overdose with the mixed of heroin 20 non-fatal overdoses cannabinoid 5F-ADBsynthetic in Camden, occurred one year The incident transpired exactly Jersey. New 40 non-fatal K2 spice overdoses after approximately New to According Jersey. New occurred in Newark, (DMI) Initiative Police Drug Monitoring State Jersey cannabinoid the number of synthetic data, both of cases specimens analyzed and the number DMI data indicates and 2018. 2017 increased between the number of cases increased 49 percent and the number of specimens increased 80 percent between the highs below well still though were and 2018 2017 in 2015. experienced and The Chicago FD—in conjunction with local, state, the into partners—initiatedfederal an investigation laced with cannabinoid products source of synthetic (i.e. rat used rodenticide a commonly brodifacoum, multiple poisoning events. poison) responsible for cases 164 been at least there have 2018, Since March deaths, with additional cases in Illinois, including four with affected Interviews states. eight other in at least from product obtained the that many users revealed a mini-mart individuals associated or from in Chicago, with the mini-mart Subsequent and its operators. Washington, DC has experienced spikes in synthetic in synthetic spikes DC has experienced Washington, analysis incidents as forensic cannabinoid-related the District to cannabinoids new synthetic two revealed more than 2018, In July 2018. of Columbia (DC) in DC area were the Washington, 600 individuals in synthetic suspected hospitals for local transported to a 48- over 2018, In September cannabinoid overdoses. symptoms for treated were hour period, 67 individuals cannabinoids. Samples the use of synthetic to related the DC Departmentanalyzed by Science of Forensic DC: to cannabinoids new synthetic contained two and 5F-MDMB-PICA, are analogues of which FUB-144 documented cannabinoids previously synthetic other plant treated chemically were substances in DC. Both papers rolling or in plastic sold in twisted material style This packaging wrap tied in a knot. bags/plastic from away are moving is trending in DC, as traffickers more commonplace to packets foil brightly marked packaging.
• • • events tend to increase and decrease depending depending decrease and increase to tend events being of the substances on the potency trafficked.
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In 2018, the Arizona HIDTA Counter Narcotics Alliance Narcotics Counter the Arizona HIDTA In 2018, bags containing 76 plastic seized two Force Task be Xanax but actually to that appeared tablets of cyclopropylfentanyl, contained a combination cannabinoid, and a synthetic methamphetamine, and color FUB-AKB48. in thickness varied The tablets on one side and with “XANAX” imprinted and were mimic to side in order the number “2” on the reverse (see Figure 83). In June authentic Xanax tablets the from tablets PD analyzed 10 the Tucson 2018, contained a detectable of the tablets seizure. Seven contained one tablet amount of cyclopropylfentanyl; one tablet and methamphetamine; cyclopropylfentanyl contained FUB-AKB48; drugs were and no dangerous in the remaining tablet. detected
Source: Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Trafficking Source: Arizona High Intensity Synthetic cannabinoids use continues to cannabinoids use continues to Synthetic threat than use lower represent a relatively in major drugs of abuse. However, of other to linked cannabinoids were synthetic 2018, As the country. across events mass overdose year and every substances are identified new law evade to continue their attempts traffickers and scheduling efforts, overdose enforcement • Synthetic cannabinoids are most commonly commonly are most cannabinoids Synthetic are commonly These substances inhaled. smoking pipes, and other in cigarettes, smoked are also cannabinoids Synthetic devices. use in e-cigarettes for form in an oil available into pressed sometimes pens and are or vape prescription pills. counterfeit Figure 83. Counterfeit Xanax Tablets Tablets Xanax 83. Counterfeit Figure Containing FUB-AKB48, Methamphetamine, Cyclopropylfentanyl and New Psychoactive Substances 2019 94 t. control centers. lessening theneedfor themto contactpoison with proper treatmentsfor thesesubstances, medical providers becomingincreasinglyfamiliar lived popularityofsome NPSvarieties or occur for multiplereasons,suchastheshort- decreases incallsto poisoncontrol centers but onparwith2017. Thesharp increasesand the record-high 7,779 AAPCCcallsin2015 Thisisa75percentFigure 84). decreasefrom regarding synthetic cannabinoidexposure (see 1,954 callsto poisoncenters across thecountry thatin2018Centers (AAPCC)reports therewere The AmericanAssociationofPoison Control
Synthetic cathinones arestimulantsmeantto produce similar chemicaleffects asamphetamine orecstasy. NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT with thedistribution ofthecontaminated product. associated individuals andtheclosureofmini-mart The investigation hasresulted inthearrest offive individuals revealed lacedwithbrodifacoum. FUB-AMB analysisofdrugpurchaseslaboratory from these Source: DEA Figure 84. Number ofExposure Calls to theAmerican Association ofPoisonFigure 84. Control Centers forControl Centers Synthetic Cannabinoids, 2010 –2018 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED cathinones In 2017, therewere ofsynthetic 10,693 reports Synthetic Cathinones of theCSA. Schedule Isubstanceandthusisin Dibutylone isapositionalisomerofpentylone, in ScheduleIoftheCSAAugust 2018. scheduling order controlling N-ethylpentylone (see Figure85).DEApublishedatemporary cathinone was dibutyloneat10.9 percent to NFLIS.Thesecondmostcommonsynthetic N-ethylpentylone at60.49percent, according synthetic cathinonein2017reported was the 7,879 in2016. reports Themostfrequently t to NFLIS,a36percent increaseover New Psychoactive Substances 95 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Domestic spice processing laboratories are laboratories Domestic spice processing such as homes in residential spaces, found Traffickers and garages, and in warehouses. typically ethanol a solvent, into powders dissolve solution. Cement a liquid create to or acetone, cannabinoid the synthetic distribute mixers solution on dry (usually damiana material plant dry onto plant leaf), or it can be sprayed cannabinoids the synthetic Once dry, material. for packets individual foil into are packaged containing anywhere sales, with each packet or more grams of ten grams to a few from product. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED United States by Percentage, 2017 Percentage, by States United
Figure 85. Ten Most Frequently Reported Synthetic Cathinones in the Cathinones Synthetic Reported Most Frequently Ten 85. Figure Source: DEA Production and do not in laboratories NPS are created production. for plant material any require precursors different requires Each variety synthesize. These to and chemical processes in China and substances are widely available countries. Therefore, Asian and European other the NPS purchase traffickers most U.S.-based them shipped already synthesized and have perform final processing mail carriers to through domestically in “spice processing and packaging laboratories.” Synthetic cathinones are usually consumed cathinones are usually consumed Synthetic users but sometimes in pill or capsule form, synthetic them. Many or insufflate will smoke and/ cathinones are commonly misrepresented use in the MDMA for for or sold as substitutes because of the energy and and club scenes rave provide. euphoria they UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Transportation and cannabinoids are often referred to as K2 spice Distribution on the street and are distributed in gas stations and smoke shops throughout the United States. Wholesale quantities of NPS are usually Recently, sales have moved more to street trafficked to the United States via commercial sales in traditional illicit drug markets as law mail carriers from China, often intentionally enforcement and policy makers have targeted mislabeled or described as not for human stores selling synthetic cannabinoids. consumption in an attempt to avoid scrutiny from law enforcement and customs officials. Synthetic
K2 Smuggled Into U.S. Prisons and Jails
Starting in April 2016 and continuing throughout 2018, an Orlando HIDTA Group, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Intelligence Division (SCSO), the United States Postal Service (USPS), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) investigated a DTO responsible for manufacturing and distributing synthetic cannabinoids throughout numerous federal prisons and state and county jails. The DTO was responsible for manufacturing paper-based greeting cards, photos, and letters sprayed with various synthetic cannabinoids: MDMB-FUBINACA, ADB-CHIMINACA, FUB-AMB, XLR11, and AB-PINACA.
Agents learned many BOP facilities were experiencing a deluge of K2 product sales and use by inmates. BOP staff advised that the flood of K2 into their facilities had become a danger to the inmates and staff due to an increase in violent inmate behavior from K2 consumption. Most facilities that experienced K2 smuggling reported pervasive inmate-on-staff violence, inmate-on- inmate violence, suicide attempts, and overdoses. BOP staff identified the K2 was being smuggled through the mail into various federal prison facilities.
Acting on an SCSO tip, BOP authorities searched an inmate’s cell, and observed several empty envelopes with no letters. Shortly after the search, deputies intercepted suspicious letters addressed to two inmates, which the DEA Southeast Laboratory subsequently detected the presence of synthetic cannabinoid MDMB-FUBINACA. Authorities concluded that the inmate was the leader of the DTO and was operating from within jail. Analysis of recorded jail calls revealed the inmate’s family members had set up a laboratory in their home in Florida. The inmate instructed family members how to mix the appropriate chemicals and spray the synthetic cannabinoid onto the letters and cards. After preparations were complete, family members would take orders for paper quantities via a website, by email, or phone calls from inmates from BOP facilities across the country.
96 UNCLASSIFIED New Psychoactive Substances 97 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Outlook threat, a nationwide pose to NPS continue and in overdoses occasional spikes causing stable remain will likely Availability deaths. while become available as additional NPS out of and/or fall NPS are regulated other will continue to NPS to linked use. Overdoses NPS are introduced. NPS as different fluctuate, and vary be unpredictable in will continue to and potency. toxicity both UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In October 2018, investigators from the Phoenix from investigators 2018, In October Intelligence Metro the Arizona HIDTA FD and Center Investigations Support and Technical at warrant a search executed Force Task Arizona. Pursuanta residence in Mesa, to seized an authorities warrant, the search (spice) cannabinoids operational synthetic 50 pounds of plant approximately laboratory, cannabinoid, and with synthetic sprayed material synthetic 400 pounds of liquid approximately “EZ marked in bottles cannabinoid packaged pen cartridges (see Figure 86). Vape Liquid,” and “Black XXX Monkey” “Funky marked were was cannabinoid synthetic Magic.” The liquid plastic 13,000 concealed among approximately Utah. shipment to ready for bottles Seizure of Liquid Synthetic Cannabinoid Cannabinoid of Liquid Synthetic Seizure in Arizona Source: DEA Figure 86. Seized Synthetic Cannabinoid 86. Seized Synthetic Figure Packages New Psychoactive Substances 2019 98
TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations Overview the United States that either report directly to TCO leaders in Mexico or indirectly through Mexican TCOs continue to control lucrative intermediaries. The following is a background smuggling corridors, primarily across the SWB, on each of the six major Mexican TCOs, with and maintain the greatest drug trafficking examples of their drug trafficking impact on influence in the United States, with continued distinct U.S. cities: signs of growth. They continue to expand their criminal influence by engaging in Sinaloa Cartel – The Sinaloa Cartel (aka the business alliances with other TCOs, including Pacific Cartel), based in the Mexican State independent TCOs, and work in conjunction with of Sinaloa, is one of the oldest and more transnational gangs, U.S.-based street gangs, established DTOs in Mexico. The Sinaloa Cartel prison gangs, and Asian money laundering controls drug trafficking activity in various organizations (MLOs). Mexican TCOs export regions in Mexico, particularly along the Pacific significant quantities of heroin, cocaine, Coast. Additionally, it maintains the most methamphetamine, marijuana, and fentanyl expansive international footprint compared into the United States annually. The drugs are to other Mexican TCOs. The Sinaloa Cartel delivered to user markets in the United States exports and distributes wholesale amounts of through transportation routes and distribution methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, cells that are managed or influenced by Mexican and fentanyl in the United States by maintaining TCOs, and with the cooperation and participation distribution hubs in cities that include Phoenix, of local street gangs. Los Angeles, Denver, Atlanta, and Chicago. Illicit drugs distributed by the Sinaloa Cartel Most Significant Mexican are primarily smuggled into the United States TCOs Currently Active in the through crossing points located along Mexico’s United States border with California, Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. Although offshoots from previously established TCOs continue to emerge, the DEA assesses Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) – the following six Mexican TCOs as having the CJNG, based in the city of Guadalajara in the greatest drug trafficking impact on the Mexican State of Jalisco, is the most recently United States: Sinaloa Cartel, CJNG, Beltran- formed of the six TCOs. With drug distribution Leyva Organization, Juarez Cartel, Gulf Cartel, hubs in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and and Los Zetas Cartel. These TCOs maintain drug Atlanta, it is one of the most powerful and distribution cells in designated cities across fastest growing cartels in Mexico and the
UNCLASSIFIED 99 Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 100 Juarez Cartel Beltran-Leyva Organization(BLO) least 24 of32Mexican states. and fentanyl. haspresenceinat CJNGreportedly amounts ofmethamphetamine, cocaine,heroin, group, manufacturing and/ordistributinglarge Mexican TCOs, trafficking CJNGisapoly-drug security forces Like andrival cartels. mostmajor violent confrontations withMexican Government is characterized by thewillingnessto engagein rapid expansion ofitsdrugtraffickingactivities Tijuana, Juarez,andNuevo Laredo.CJNG’s alongthe trafficking corridors SWB including into theUnited States by accessingvarious United States. CJNGsmugglesillicitdrugs multi-year turf war with the Sinaloa Cartel, war with theSinaloaCartel, multi-year turf endured a The JuarezCartel Juarez Cartel. Mexico, representsthetraditionalAOR ofthe of Chihuahua,south West Texas andNew the olderMexican TCOs. The Mexican State centers inPhoenix,LosAngeles,andChicago. methamphetamine, andmaintaindistribution primarily trafficmarijuana,cocaine,heroin, and alongtheSWB.corridors BLO members and LosZetas for accessto drugsmuggling loose allianceswithCJNG,theJuarezCartel, heroin trade.BLO splinter groups relyontheir to theirroleindependently dueinpart inthe Los Rojos andLosGuerreros Unidos, operate two mostprominent ofthesesplinter groups, greater independenceandinfluence.The as beingundertheBLO umbrella,areasserting splinter groups, thoughstillgenerallyregarded Guerrero, Morelos,Nayarit, andSinaloa. The ofMexico, includingtheStatesvarious parts of of theirorganizationcontinueto operate in or incarcerated, splinter groups andremnants Beltran-Leyva brothers have now beenkilled from in 2008. Whileallthe theSinaloaCartel Leyva brothers and theirassociates split theBeltran- itsindependenceafter asserted
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT – The Juarez Cartel isoneof –TheJuarezCartel –TheBLO UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED a rebranded form ofmainstreamZetas, anda del Noreste (Cartel or CDN), Cartel Northeast are currentlydividedinto two rival factions: the lessened significantlyin recent LosZetasyears. internal conflicts,theinfluenceofLos Zetas has Mexicanrival cartels, law enforcement, and southern Mexico. However, dueto pressurefrom ofeastern, central,and trafficking inlargeparts time oftherupture,LosZetas controlled drug officially splintered from theGulfCartel. At the inearly2010an independentcartel when it distribution hubsinHouston andDetroit. maintainsapresenceandholdskeyGulf Cartel Rio GrandeValley andSouthPadre Island.The Texas through theborder regionbetween the a majorityofitsdrugshipmentsinto South Mexico, smuggles theGulfCartel in northeast split in2010. Dueto itsinfluence over areas Mexico againstLosZetas sincetheGulf-Zetas fought for dominanceinareasofNortheast and methamphetamine. has TheGulfCartel cocaine buthasexpanded to includeheroin trafficsprimarilymarijuanaand Gulf Cartel base intheMexican State ofTamaulipas, the operation for decades.Withatraditionalpower Gulf Cartel Los Zetas Cartel Los Zetas some regions. since 2013, outpacingmarijuanacultivation in increased significantlyintheState ofChihuahua cultivation overseen by has theJuarezCartel enforcement indicates opiumpoppy reporting methamphetamine distribution.Recent law and hasrecentlyexpanded into heroin and mainlytrafficsmarijuanaandcocaine Cartel Denver, Chicago,andOklahomaCity. TheJuarez drug consumermarkets, primarilyinElPaso, continuestothe JuarezCartel influence U.S. not asexpansive astherival SinaloaCartel, in Chihuahuaatitsheightmid-2010. Though which resulted inmany drug-related murders – The Gulf Cartel hasbeenin –TheGulfCartel –LosZetas formed as Transnational Criminal Organizations 101 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Selected Field Division Field Selected Highlights FDs Los Angeles and Diego, Atlanta, The San report Cartel the Sinaloa are the and CJNG affecting their TCOs Mexican most dominant San Diego FD reports Sinaloa AORs. that both Diego the Tijuana/San Cartel control and CJNG The Phoenix FD has not trafficking corridor. and reports in their AOR witnessed CJNG that the Sinaloa Cartel TCO remains the dominant affecting Arizona. The Miami FD reports in Mexican an increase transportingTCOs and distributing large methamphetamine, of cocaine, quantities in Mexico Florida from into and fentanyl heroin, The Sinaloa Cartel,recent years. CJNG, and BLO TCOs in the are the most significant Mexican Miami FD AOR. England FD reports TCOs, The New Mexican primarily the Sinaloa Cartel, serve as the main that the Dominican TCOs of supplies for sources of wholesale supplies distribution dominate and cocaine. Dominican fentanyl, of heroin, Mexican between act as intermediaries TCOs gangs and local criminal groups and the TCOs drug sales in the New street-level responsible for England FD. such as FD reports TCOs, Mexican The Denver dominate the Sinaloa Cartel, CJNG, and BLO, and heroin cocaine, methamphetamine, Trafficking organizations trafficking in the area. in northern are located Sinaloa and Nayarit most of the black tar and brown responsible for in Colorado and Utah. distributed heroin powder
Consistent with previous years, the Sinaloa years, with previous Consistent Cartel influence, maintains the widest national with its most dominant positions along the West and in the Northeast.Coast, in the Midwest, with TCO be the Mexican CJNG continues to second-most widespread national influence. BLO the activities remain more dispersed throughout concentrations in with heavier States, United markets. areas with large heroin Mexican nationals or U.S. citizens of Mexican citizens of Mexican nationals or U.S. Mexican activity in TCO Mexican origin mainly oversee members TCO U.S.-based States. the United States the United nationality enter of Mexican conceal legally and illegally and often seek to Mexican- within densely populated themselves members TCO American communities. Mexican can be traced States operating in the United often cartel leading figures in Mexico, back to members TCO ties. U.S.-based familial through prior to States reside in the United may In some cases, TCO. a Mexican by employment high-ranking members are given TCO U.S.-based upon returning positions within the organization activity in the of successful after years Mexico to States. United Structure and Characteristics and Structure breakaway group, the Old School Zetas (Escuela (Escuela Zetas School the Old group, breakaway smuggle EV). MembersVieja or Los Zetas of the drugs through of their illicit the majority Lake, Falcon Del Rio and area between border Laredo, in Nuevo a base of power with Texas, members traffic currently Los Zetas’ Mexico. marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, in Laredo, distribution hubs key through heroin Orleans. Dallas, and New Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 102 POEs inpassenger vehicles with concealed involves smuggling illicitdrugsthrough U.S. The mostcommonmethod employed using awidearray ofsmugglingtechniques. drugs into theUnited States across the SWB Mexican themajority ofillicit TCOs transport Transportation Methods Drug Smuggling and drugsattheretail level.transport across theUnited States to distribute and directly withlocalcriminalgroups andgangs distribution. At times,Mexican TCOs collaborate with Mexican TCOs, typicallyhandle retail-level street gangs,whoarenot directlyaffiliated U.S. markets whilesmallerlocalgroups and of bulkwholesalequantities ofillicitdrugsto coordinate anddistribution thetransportation U.S.-based Mexican TCO generally members Gangs Criminal Groups and Street Relationship withLocal smallershipments. transport often groups isincreasinginsomeareas,andthey Mexican TCOs. Thenumberoftransportation “contractors” whomayparty work for multiple within theUnited States areindependent, third- drugshipments individuals hiredto transport other aspectsofanoperation.Inmostcases, of theirspecificfunction,butareunaware of supply chain:Operators inthechainareaware in theUnited States typicallyfunctionasa or money laundering.Mexican TCO operations consolidationofdrugproceeds, transportation, specific functionssuchasdrugdistributionor cellsassigned various compartmentalized U.S.-based Mexican TCOs arecomposed of United States Operational Structure inthe
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED border vulnerabilities. enforcement along theSWB to identifycross- also useUAS to monitor theactivityofU.S. law capacityisincreased.Mexican TCOscarrying for increasedgrowth iftheir anduse,particularly not commonlyused,althoughthereispotential multi-kilogram amountsofillicitdrugs,they are SWB. Currently, onlysmall asUAS canonlycarry depositing thedrugsincloseproximity to the marijuanashipments, predominantly transport drones to conductairdrops. Ultralightaircrafts unmannedaerialsystemsaircraft, (UAS), and These methods includetheuseofultralight illicitdrugsacrossto theSWB. transport Mexican TCOs exploit various aerialmethods United States. crossing remote areasoftheSWB into the such astheuseofbackpackers, or“mules,” also relyontraditionaldrugsmugglingmethods, thecoastofCalifornia.typically off Mexican TCOs clandestinely orthrough official maritimePOEs, extent, Mexican TCOs usemaritimevessels trains andpassengerbuses.To alesser the United States aboard commercial cargo Mexican illicitdrugsto TCOs alsotransport generally associated withtheSinaloaCartel. primarily found inCalifornia andArizona,are enforcement authoritiesalongtheSWB are in shipments.Tunnels destroyed by U.S. law though other illicitdrugshave beencommingled used to smuggleton quantities ofmarijuana, the border. Underground tunnelsaremainly and leadinto safe housesontheU.S. sideof subterranean tunnels,whichoriginate inMexico employed by Mexican TCOs includetheuseof Other cross-border smugglingtechniques goods ontractor-trailers. orcommingledwithlegitimate compartments Transnational Criminal Organizations 103
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG transactions ($50,000/year) and overseas overseas and ($50,000/year) transactions bank issued credit on Chinese withdrawals The demand ($15,000/year). cards and debit wealth their transfer nationals to of Chinese the of China and into outside U.S. for has fueled the demand States United U.S. acquire are eager to dollars. Asian MLOs TCOs the Mexican from dollars(drug proceeds) of pesos in Mexico the payment for in exchange via a Chinese debts in China or their equivalent (CUBS) scheme. Banking System Underground customers dollars to resell the U.S. Asian MLOs States) (Chinese nationals within the United Renminbi for exchange in normally a profit, for for in China. This demand (RMB) payments dollar in particular, i.e. the U.S. exchange, foreign drug TCO Mexican for an outlet has provided that is changing the landscape of proceeds the laundering within money States. United
An alarming trend is the increasing presence of in the laundering of drug engaged Asian MLOs This TCOs. on behalf of the Mexican proceeds of a cap by trend is a result of the imposition exchange of China on foreign the Government Mexican TCOs generate billions of dollars generate TCOs Mexican drugs in the sale of illegal annually through of utilize a variety They States. the United enforcement law counter to methodologies their illicit efforts and confiscate identify to In and Mexico. States in the United proceeds bulk exploit TCOs Mexican States, the United of proceeds cash smuggling, the placement and electronic banking system the U.S. into of the BMPE via networks Mexico, to transfer Service and the use of Money brokers, money to the proceeds transfer Businesses (MSBs) to place TCOs the Mexican Mexico, Inside Mexico. through the financial system into illicit proceeds of the purchase businesses, exchange foreign and shell with cash, and use of front assets in transfers electronic receive to companies ownership conceal the true beneficial to order There has also been of the illicit proceeds. of the utilization of cryptocurrencies by evidence transfer which to as a means by TCOs Mexican internationally. their wealth Money Laundering Activity Laundering Money
Drug-related murders in Mexico continue to to continue in Mexico murders Drug-related there is proportions.reach epidemic However, as States in the United violence little spillover members generally TCO Mexican U.S.-based law avoid to violence inter-cartel refrain from Mexican and scrutiny. detection enforcement violence do occur in parts acts of of TCO-related particularly States, along the SWB; the United and mainly are less frequent they however, incidents. ‘trafficker-on-trafficker’ with associated Spillover Violence Spillover Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 104 Colombian Transnational Criminal Organizations TCOs sell multi-ton quantities of cocaine and factions oftheFARC. Large-scaleColombian are presentlyalliedand working withdissident (Autodefensas Unidas deColombia orAUC), of theUnited Self-Defense Forces ofColombia composed primarilyofdemobilizedmembers dominated theColombian drugtrade.TheGAOs, Revolucionarias deColombiaorFARC) have Armed Forces ofColombia(Fuerzas Armadas and dissidentfactions oftheRevolutionary (Grupos ArmadosOrganizadosorGAOs) Recently, various “Armed CriminalOrganizations” Large-scale Colombian TCOs proceeds United States to assistinlaunderingdrug also maintainaphysical presenceinthe cocaine andheroin. ColombianTCO members flights andaircargo to move smallamountsof the United States oncommercial usingcouriers TCOs continueto maintaindirectpipelinesinto Colombia every year. SomesmallerColombian to multi-ton export quantities ofcocainefrom closely withMexican andCentralAmericanTCOs Principally, large-scaleColombianTCOs work of Colombiancocaineinto theUnited States. currently dominate thewholesale distribution of wholesalecocaineinto U.S. markets and have taken over therole ofprincipalexporters from Colombia to U.S. markets. Mexican TCOs withMexican TCOspartnership to cocaine export production andsupplyofcocaine,relyona origin. ColombianTCOs continueto control the and tested intheUnited States isofColombian DEA’s CSP, themajorityofcocaineseized than inthe1980s and1990s. According to illicit drugmarket, thoughto alesserextent Colombian TCOs continueto influencethe U.S. Overview
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED on aregularbasis. Panama andother countriesinCentralAmerica of cocaineviamaritimeconveyances to nearby location, theGulfClansendsmulti-ton quantities Colombia.FromUrabá innorthwest thisstrategic regionof Clan power baseliesinitsbirthplace Though itmaintainsanationalreach,theGulf by capitalizingonthedemiseofrival GAOs. Colombiaandother regionsmainly northern 2000s, theGulfClanhasexpanded throughout maintain operability. Sinceemerginginthemid- framework toactivities andamilitary-style presence. TheGulfClanreliesondrugtrafficking largest GAO inColombiawithacohesive national criminal enterprise thathasevolved into the functions asahighlystructuredandcentralized Urabeños, ClandelGolfo, andClanÚsuga, Gulf Clan drug markets is: significant Colombian TCO withanimpact on U.S. into theUnited States andEurope. Themost where localTCOs them receive andtransport and heroin shipmentsthrough theCaribbean United States. ColombianTCOs route cocaine Mexico for eventual smugglinginto the those drugstowho export CentralAmericaand smaller quantities ofheroin to Mexican TCOs Venezuela to coordinate cocaineshipments. representatives to Colombia,Ecuador, and sources ofsupply, sendingMexican often Mexican TCOs work directlywithColombian and distributionthroughout theUnited States. TCOs areresponsiblefor into itsexportation for consumption intheUnited States, Mexican and shipmentofthemajoritycocainedestined While ColombianTCOs control theproduction TCOs Collaboration with Mexican
Transnational Criminal Organizations 105
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
Money Laundering Activities Laundering Money hundreds of millions generate Colombian TCOs the sale of drugs in of dollars annually through The principal mechanisms States. the United launder their drug which Colombian TCOs by are BMPE and TBML. Colombian proceeds of money networks international rely upon TCOs exchange foreign from laundererswho profit Although transactions and trade-based activity. TCOs, as within the Mexican as prominent not there is an increase in the presence of Asian area of activity. in Colombian controlled MLO of the utilization There has also been evidence in order Colombian TCOs of cryptocurrencies by internationally. their proceeds transfer to wholesale markets in the Midwest and East East and Midwest in the markets wholesale dominate now TCOs Mexican Coast; however, serving increasingly as these markets, most of in these TCOs other primary of supply to source regions. handle illicit Colombian TCOs Smaller U.S.-based Colombian larger of behalf on movements money criminal groups. or other TCOs, Mexican TCOs, reporting Cali, indicates enforcement Law launderers coordinate money Colombia-based cities U.S. in various proceeds the receipt of drug Miami, Chicago, Houston, including Boston, these funds are Once received, York. and New and bank accounts often placed in U.S.-based under the guise of externally wire transferred services. and products for payment UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Small-Scale Colombian TCOs Colombian Small-Scale directly supply Smaller Colombian TCOs to of cocaine and heroin wholesale quantities Northeast primarily to and States, the United TCOs Colombian East Coast drug markets. and heroin cocaine dominated previously
The majority of the cocaine and heroin produced produced the cocaine and heroin The majority of the to Colombian TCOs by and exported use Ecuador continue to Colombian TCOs points for as transshipment and Venezuela Central Mexico, cocaine shipments bound for of America, and the Caribbean. Because efforts the Colombian by successful counterdrug shifted a have TCOs Colombian Government, sizable portion activities of their drug trafficking neighboring countries outside the reach to of Colombian authorities. Colombian TCOs generally will transport large quantities and store and areas of Venezuela of cocaine in remote Ecuador until maritime or aerial transportation can be secured. Colombian TCO DTOs Trends Trends DTOs TCO Colombian Central is transported through States United export TCOs Colombian America and Mexico. Central Mexico, large cocaine shipments to a variety America, and the Caribbean using of maritime and aerial means including vessels, semi-submersibles, speedboats, fishing air and sea aircraft, and commercial private Colombian TCOs cargo. Less commonly, the Darien land across transport cocaine over Gap, which connects northwest to Colombia using backpackers. Panama, Similarly, Colombian TCOs maintain delegates in delegates maintain TCOs Colombian Similarly, or orders cocaine for serve as brokers to Mexico TCOs American Central movements. illicit money for TCOs and Colombian Mexican with both work and the of cocaine the northbound movement of illicit drug proceeds. southbound flow Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 106 Dominican Transnational Criminal Organizations Colombian, andMexican TCOs. in theUnited States, Rican, suchasPuerto collaborate ethnic withdifferent criminalgroups outside threats.Dominican TCOs arewilling to TCOs able to areoften remaininsulated from and hometown acquaintances, Dominican on thesenetworks offamily friends, members, or U.S. citizensofDominicandescent.Byrelying andfriendsofDominicannationality members Dominican TCOs areusuallycomprised offamily oftheircriminalactivities. compartmentalization and subordinates indesignated roles, ensuring organized structurewithanidentifiedleader TCO independentlymaintainsitsown internal without acentralizedhierarchy. EachDominican unstructured network ofindependentgroups Dominican TCOs typicallyoperate asan Organizational Structure and theDominicanRepublic. fromdirectly to Mexico, theNortheast Colombia, to have cocaine,heroin, andfentanyl shipped TCOs work in collaborationwithforeign suppliers regions.Dominican andMid-Atlantic Northeast hubsandretail marketssecondary across the the greater metropolitan area,orrouted to where thedrugsaredistributed throughout primarilyarrive inNew first Northeast York City, drugs destinedfor DominicanTCOs inthe level oftheregion.Illegal salesinselectparts areas oftheregion.They alsoengageinstreet- distribution ofheroin andfentanyl incertain United States, andcontrol thewholesale in majordrugmarkets mainlyintheNortheast distribution ofcocaineandwhite powder heroin Dominican TCOs dominate themid-level Overview
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Coast. before they throughout aredispersed theEast smaller unitsfor localandregionaldistribution New York City, wherethey arebroken down into destined for Dominicantraffickers arrive in first sourced cocaine,heroin, andfentanyl shipments The majorityofforeign- activity intheNortheast. asthemainhubforserves DominicanTCO New York oftheNortheast. various parts City established ethnic Dominicancommunitiesin drug traffickingactivitiesbehindthecover of corridor. Dominicantraffickers concealtheir in citieslocated alongtheI-95highway significant Dominicanpopulation,generally witha influence inareasoftheNortheast Dominican TCOs maintaintheirstrongest Concentrated inNortheast Areas ofInfluence law enforcement detection. changetheir smugglingpatternsoften to avoid and unrestricted by national boundaries.They Republic. Theseorganizations arehighlymobile fentanyl-milling operations intheDominican TCOs heroin to andhave transport established Dominican DTOs have formed tieswithMexican form, readyfor street-level sales. kilograms to multi-gram quantities inpre-bagged with distributionamountsrangingfrom afew supplied by DominicanTCOs arestreet gangs local street sales.Inmany cases,thecustomers subsequently sellinincrementsto customers for and heroin from whichthey wholesalers, multi-hundred kilogramquantities ofcocaine domestic retailers. DominicanTCOs obtain intermediaries between foreign and suppliers Dominican TCOs primarilyfunctionas DTOs and Street Gangs Relationship withLocal Drug Transnational Criminal Organizations 107 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Role in Retail Drug Market Drug Retail in Role sales in in street-level engage TCOs Dominican certain Coast. Dominican of the East regions York, New City, York in New based TCOs and Lawrence, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mainly supply Dominican drug Massachusetts Dominican distribution. in retail dealers involved particularly the TCOs, in the Northeast, have of drug all facets handle infrastructure to mid-level, include the wholesale, distribution to By diluting cocaine and heroin sectors. and retail sales, Northeast street for traffickers Dominican and profit. their inventory can expand
Dominican traffickers take advantage of advantage take Dominican traffickers to Puerto territory Rico’s status as a U.S. air transport commercial of cocaine facilitate (CONUS), States the continental United into Northeast the mainly into and south Florida. using small maritime prefer Dominican TCOs transport from to heroin cocaine and vessels Puerto into Rico. the Dominican Republic Venezuelan While Dominican, Colombian, and during serve as crewmembers traffickers maritime operations, the majority of the boat captains are Dominican. These traffickers utilize the USPS commercial subsequently transportshipping services, to and vessels Dominican CONUS. Additionally, illegal drugs to to transportvessels utilize maritime traffickers the Dominican Republic cocaine directly from employ south Florida. Dominican traffickers to organizations to laundering Chinese money drug the laundering of Dominican TCO facilitate trafficking proceeds. The vast majority of cocaine distributed by by distributed majority of cocaine The vast in the Northeast traffickers Dominican is of powder most of white origin, while Colombian and Mexico in origin between varies heroin specialize in the TCOs Colombia. Dominican however, and heroin; distribution of cocaine opioids in the demand for the current due to involved heavily are also they States, United and controlled of fentanyl, in the distribution they a lesser extent, To prescription drugs. drugs illegal supply of other engage in regional and marijuana, methamphetamine, include to further capitalize on the high demand NPS. To established have opioids, Dominican TCOs for in the Dominican operations fentanyl-milling Republic. Drug Trafficking Activities Trafficking Drug Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 108 Asian Transnational Criminal Organizations significant amounts ofmarijuana produced in operations by hidinginplainsight.Asaresult, marijuana inwhollyillegal residentialgrow Additionally, someproduce largeamountsof cultivation andmedical marijuanaallowances. adhering to localregulationsgoverning private Asian TCOs overtly operate marijuanagrows by level marijuanalegalizationactions,some located insuburbanneighborhoods. Withstate- traditional andhydroponic andarefrequently United States. Theseindoorgrows areboth in residentialhomes,primarilythewestern sophisticated indoormarijuanagrow houses Asian TCOs have historically operated large, Marijuana Trafficking Trends been thegreatest. growth inthe numberofAsianimmigrantshas communities inCalifornia andNew York where adeptatexpandinggroups in areparticularly communities, to exploit U.S. drugmarkets. These Americans, blendinginto existing immigrant Asian TCOs collaborate withandrecruitAsian- Organizational Structure drugs to andfrom theUnited States. illicit international and export locationsto import withAsianTCOs inCanadaandotherconcert the country. U.S.-based AsianTCOs work in and have distributionnetworks stretching across drug traffickingactivitiesonboth U.S. coasts and Mexican TCOs. AsianTCOs actively conduct laundering activities,working withColombian also heavily involved ininternational money cocaine andmethamphetamine. They are and,tomarijuana andMDMA, alesserextent, Asian TCOs specializeinthetraffickingof Overview
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED import MDMA. MDMA. import work closelywithCanada-basedAsianTCOs to U.S.-based AsianTCOslocations viamailservice. United States from Canada,China,andother MDMA isalsoshippeddirectlyinto the Border intothe Northern theUnited States. laboratories inCanada,thensmuggledacross China to Canadaormanufactured inclandestine powder form, from istypicallyeitherimported in mostU.S. markets. inboth tablet MDMA, and Asian TCOs generallycontrol thesupplyofMDMA MDMA Trafficking Trends market. where itismuchmoreprofitable ontheblack these grow operationsarediverted to states underground bankingandmirroring schemes. money movement. AsianTCOs alsouse using front companies to facilitate international transfer offundsbetween ChinaandHongKong, employed by AsianTCOs generallyinvolve the and DominicanTCOs. Money launderingtactics criminal groups, such asMexican, Colombian, andsometimes workservices jointlywithother TCOs involved inmoney launderingcontract their in thelaunderingofillicitdrugproceeds. Asian Asian TCOs intheUnited States play akey role Role inMoney Laundering obtain kilogramquantities. sources ofsupply;insomecases,thesegroups of cocaineandmethamphetamine from Mexican TCOs typicallyobtainounceorgramquantities Asian quantities thanmarijuanaandMDMA. methamphetamine, althoughinsmaller Asian TCOs alsotrafficcocaineand General Trafficking Trends
Transnational Criminal Organizations 109 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Outlook to the changes significant, unanticipated Barring will continue, TCOs Mexican market, illicit drug the wholesale dominate to term, in the near importation and distribution of cocaine, heroin, in and fentanyl marijuana, methamphetamine, organizations criminal No other markets. U.S. a logistical infrastructure currently possess TCOs Mexican TCOs. that of Mexican rival to States United in the grow will continue to of distribution networks expansion through with local criminal and continued interaction and gangs. This relationship will insulate groups drug street-level direct ties to from TCOs Mexican arrests seizures and drug-related and money enforcement. law U.S. made by and high cocaine production sustained Due to Colombian in Colombia, corresponding profits dominance over maintain to are expected TCOs of the majority of and supply the production Colombian markets. U.S. cocaine destined for collaborate to continue to are expected TCOs their products, who purchase TCOs with Mexican will TCOs primarily cocaine, while Mexican remain the dominant cocaine wholesale Colombian Further, States. supplier in the United maintain continue to will most likely TCOs Central America, the in Mexico, representatives and broker to States Caribbean, and the United the exportation of cocaine and heroin facilitate repatriation and the subsequent markets, U.S. to of drug proceeds. their retain are positioned to Dominican TCOs distribution of in the mid-level leading role illegal drugs, particularly in the Northeast. ensure their sustainability These TCOs to self-sufficiency and accessibility through smuggling routes, drug supply lines, diverse multiple involving methods and conveyance nations. several criminal organizations across
Within the United States, the laundering the laundering States, Within the United most major in and around operate networks States, areas. Outside of the United metropolitan United States as well as individuals born in as well States United Asian countries. In some cases, China and other Mexico- be agreements between there appear to heads leaders and Asian MLOs based TCO long- access to which provide based in Mexico, DTO U.S.-based for standing laundering networks observed Mexican FDs have members. Various domestic Asian increasingly utilizing DTOs movement drug money facilitate to operatives including TBML, of methods, a variety across bulk currency CUBS, virtual even currencies, and and shipment. storage on behalf of drug operating Asian MLOs Mexico, as been identified in have traffickers as in Central and South America. Moreover, well also MLOs mainland China, Asian beyond East and Far and other in Hong Kong operate Southeast Asia countries. Asian MLOs are working in conjunction with are working Asian MLOs Asian with increasing frequency. Hispanic DTOs Asian members include born in the MLOs Asian Money Laundering Organizations Asian Money U.S.-based-Asian TCOs rely on domestic cash- domestic rely on U.S.-based-Asian TCOs money- facilitate to businesses intensive enforcement law activities. Recently, laundering reporting an increase in Chinese indicates TCOs and Mexican groups laundering money money. move/launder collaborating to Transnational Criminal Organizations 2019 110 the United States andabroad. their drugandmoney launderingoperationsin with Mexican andColombianTCOs to further will likely continueto expand theirrelationships established marijuanaandMDMAmarkets. They of concernintheUnited in States, particularly Asian TCOs willremainadrugtraffickingthreat Dominican TCOs operatingalongtheEastCoast. forwill continueto offer criminalopportunities drug transshipmentnodeintheCaribbean,it the DominicanRepublic remainsasignificant the retail-level distributionofillicitdrugs.As relationships withDominicantraffickers for willlikely maintaintheirworkingNortheast Mexican andColombianTCOs operatinginthe
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
OCONUS AND TRIBAL THREATS Overview Rico and 10 percent in the USVI) and strategic geographic locations—midway between the Puerto Rico, the USVI, and Guam are United States and South America. In addition, unincorporated, organized territories of the they have customs exemptions for passengers United States with economies that largely on commercial aircraft entering the depend on tourism, commercial shipment United States mainland. These factors make the services, and national defense spending. The islands attractive to illicit drug traffickers and island territories are strategically located in their money launderers. respective areas, and have customs exemptions for passengers on commercial aircraft entering Drug Threat the United States mainland, making them attractive to illicit drug traffickers and money Fentanyl deaths in Puerto Rico have significantly launderers. increased from 10 in 2015 to 106 deaths in 2017. The Mental Services, Health, and High rates of unemployment and poverty Addiction Administration in Puerto Rico (known contribute to Native American communities’ as ASSMCA) has reported an increase in issues with substance abuse and exploitation by fentanyl-related deaths on the island. In March drug traffickers and TCOs. TCOs often smuggle 2019, ASSMCA and the Medical Examiner’s drugs through strategically located reservations Office stated, “due to lack of resources, the along U.S. borders, and Native American criminal amount of fentanyl-related deaths for 2018 was groups obtain drugs from traffickers moving undetermined.” The lack of resources and the through reservations or from TCO associates in delay in determining the cause of death raises nearby major cities. concerns. Puerto Rico and the U.S. On May 15, 2019, during the “Opioid Crisis Virgin Islands Roundtable Discussion” between the U.S. Department of Agriculture the Caribbean FD, With approximate populations of 3.5 million and ASSMCA, the local agency explained that, and 103,000, respectively, Puerto Rico and in 2018, 70 fentanyl-involved overdose deaths the USVI are part of an island chain located were reported and another 60 cases are pending along the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, confirmation. ASSMCA provided new statistics where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Both are pertaining to fentanyl overdoses, showing a unincorporated, organized territories of the steady increase over the last three years - 106 United States, whose economies depend fentanyl-involved overdose deaths in 2017, 12 largely on tourism. Both U.S. territories have deaths in 2016, and 10 deaths in 2015. high unemployment rates (14 percent in Puerto
UNCLASSIFIED 111 OCONUS and Tribal Threats 2019 112 United States mainland.IntheUSVI, heroin through Rico,destinedfor Puerto the Heroin isconsumed locallyandtransported Heroin availability Ricoismoderate. inPuerto heroin andmarijuanaarealsomajor concerns. Caribbean region,butsmugglingandabuseof Cocaine istheprincipaldrugthreatin Jersey, andFlorida. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Unitedthe northeastern States, primarily from RicoandtheUSVI Puerto to Floridaand Cocaine isalsoconcealedinparcels mailed Rico. Puerto theBritishVirginIslands,and Martin/Maarten, which thentransitto theNetherlands Antilles,St. ships offloadcocaine to smallerfishing vessels, larger “mother ships”from Venezuela. These theUSVI meet smaller boatsdeparting reports United States mainland.Law enforcement also USVI andeastern Ricothenonto Puerto the Islands, withtraffickers islandhoppinginto the Cocaine isalsosmuggledviatheBritishVirgin from theDominicanRepublic to Rico. Puerto flowRepublic. ofcocaine Thereisalsosecondary Rico instead goingthrough offirst theDominican to sendlargecocaineloadsdirectlyto Puerto and USCGinterdiction traffickers prefer efforts, Due to Dominicanlaw enforcement successes the MonaPassage from theDominicanRepublic. directlyfrom Venezueladeparting ortransiting cocaineto Rico,either to Puerto transport exclusively usego-fast boatsorfishing vessels and theDominicanRepublic. Traffickers almost maritime vessels from Colombia,Venezuela, tois primarilytransported theislandsvia cocaine availability hasdecreased.Cocaine Caribbean countrieshave increased,while prices (perkilogram)intheU.S. Territories and According cocaine to CaribbeanFDreporting,
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED island. Itisunclearhow this Executive Order implementation ofmedicalmarijuanaonthe marijuana andto establishapolicy for the protocols to promote research onmedical ofHealth to develop RicanDepartment Puerto via Executive Order. Thisorder mandated the rescheduling ofmarijuanato aScheduleIIdrug the Governor Ricomandated ofPuerto the marijuana viaExecutive Order. InMay 2015, employeespublic service from beingtested for 2016, theGovernor Ricoexcluded ofPuerto RicoandtheUSVI.in Puerto In November Laws surrounding marijuanaarealsochanging where theuseofmedicalmarijuanaislegal. THC andobtainitfrom areasintheUnite States desiremarijuanawithahigher marijuana users United States mainlandto theUSVI. IntheUSVI, commercial from parcel the services Rico andtheUSVI. Marijuanaisalsoshippedvia however, localproduction isincreasinginPuerto marijuana supplierto localCaribbeannations; Jamaica continuesto bethelargestCaribbean seizure loadsizehasalsoincreased. continued to increasesince 2013. Average island nations,seizuresofmarijuanahave from Ricoandother Caribbean Puerto reporting for theUSVI. According to law enforcement threat to Ricoandsecondmostimportant Puerto USVI. drug Marijuanaisthethird mostimportant will continueto threaten Ricoandthe Puerto Growing availability andabuseofmarijuana California. Ricofrom tosent viaparcel Puerto services minimalheroin-lacedreported fentanyl seizures maritime shipments.TheCaribbeanFDhasalso typically arrives commingledwithcocaineon and theUSVI isofSouthAmericanorigin,which for resale.Theheroin trafficked Rico inPuerto does not poseamajorthreat,asthedemandis
OCONUS and Tribal Threats 113 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Drug-related Crime Drug-related high homicide have Puertoand the USVI Rico per murders 40 averages The USVI rates. of the most making it one people, 100,000 its and States the United violent areas in nexus In Puerto there is a strong Rico, territories. gang violent crime, drug trafficking, between 60 firearms. An estimated activities, and illicit according are drug-related, of homicides percent in Puerto agencies Rico. enforcement law to that indicate estimates National homicide in Puerto Rico is homicide rate the average U.S. per times higher than the five approximately violent crime and homicide However, capita rate. year declined every in Puerto Rico have rates Declines in homicide since peaking in 2011. successful law to be attributed may rates operations. enforcement The crime situation in Puerto Rico has also March From officials. enforcement law affected and 12 incidents 2016, October through 2012 were officials enforcement law threats involving prosecutor a state reported. In January 2016, the Departmentfor of Justice in Puerto Rico a 2016, and killed. In October brutally shot was Puerto killed and another Rico PD Sergeant was while conducting an interdiction was shot officer (PHP). in a public housing project operating in Puerto Rico The majority of DTOs throughout are based in the 330 PHPs located direct “drug points,” the island. These groups of illicit drugs sale the retail locations used for other specific gangs or by that are controlled in the PHPs to criminal organizations located nightclubs, restaurants, and bars. The nearby used intimidation, violence, and murder DTOs of the drug markets control gain or retain to within a specific geographic area. PHPs in Puerto but are geographically isolated, Rico are not UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
The Caribbean FD reports an increase in inbound maritime cocaine cocaine seizures from Puerto Rico arriving into smuggling ventures Caribbean The Colombia and Venezuela. from serve as a critical drug Corridor continues to South American transshipment zone between The States. countries and the United source the via alarming increase of cocaine flowing to poses a significant threat Caribbean vectors because cocaine movement States the United tons 39 metric has more than tripled from During in 2015. tons metric 133 to in 2011 DEA to According tons. metric 185 it was 2017, reporting, operating in South America and TCOs maritime multi-ton the Caribbean coordinate originating in Colombia smuggling ventures and transiting Puerto Rico, the or Venezuela and neighboring Eastern Dominican Republic, destinations in the Caribbean islands for Transshipment The use of hidden compartments as in vehicles cash, bulk smuggle drugs, weapons, a means to the illegal contraband into and other United States, Europe, and Africa. Europe, States, United is a common practice among DTOs States United in Puerto Rico and the USVI. and TCOs In September 2015, the USVI passed a law to to a law passed the USVI 2015, In September possession of one ounce or decriminalize the possession of one Further, less of cannabis. and those 18 cannabis for ounce or less of with fines as a civil offense, older is classified Dollars (USD), but those U.S. $100-$200 from a drug complete to be required will under 18 selling Strict penalties for program. awareness in place in the bulk amounts remain and growing USVI. will affect the current drug laws in Puerto in Rico. will affect laws drug the current marijuana approved Order Executive The same in Puertocultivation in 2016. commencing Rico, OCONUS and Tribal Threats 2019 114 of controlled pharmaceutical substancesin healthcare, prescription fraud,and thediversion various priorityorganizations involved in and locallaw enforcement agencies,dismantled withfederal, state,the CaribbeanFD,inconcert Between August 2016 andNovember 2018, Rico. fraud isaseriousthreatinPuerto substances for distributionandhealthcare The diversion ofcontrolled pharmaceutical Drugs Controlled Prescription Diversion and IllicitUseof Republic Rico. andPuerto thatoperatesferry between theDominican onthevehiclehuman couriers andpassenger smuggle heroin directlyinto Ricoby using Puerto DTOs basedintheDominicanRepublic also order to evade law enforcement scrutiny. Heroin along theEastCoastandfinally Ricoin to Puerto Caracas, Venezuela to various majorU.S. cities take anindirectroute to deliver heroin from In somecases,traffickers instructcouriers to trafficking routes from Venezuela Rico. to Puerto Rico-basedDTOsPuerto have establishedheroin Rico. Puerto wholesale andretail distributionofcocainein RicanDTOsDominican andPuerto dominate drug dealsandcoordinating maritimeventures. trade throughout theregion,includingbrokering more sophisticated anddominantinthedrug are Dominican.DominicanDTOs arebecoming operations, themajorityofboatcaptains ascrewmembersserve duringmaritime Colombian, andVenezuelan traffickers RicoandtheUSVI.in Puerto WhileDominican, Rican DTOs areinvolved withillicitdrugtrade Colombian, Dominican,Venezuelan, andPuerto Drug Trafficking Groups upper middleclassneighborhoods. frequently located withinblocksofthemiddleto
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Target (CPOT). designated aConsolidated PriorityOrganization manufacturer andsource ofsupplywhois associated withaprolific Chinaanabolicsteroids money launderingactivities.Furthermore, itis III controlled substance),isalso engagedin prescription drugs(anabolicsteroids, aSchedule anddistributionofcontrolled transportation, illicit diversion activitiesandtheimportation, and California. ThePR-based TCO, involved in that operates Rico,Florida,Texas, inPuerto Romania, India,Cambodia,Bulgaria,andMexico ties to anabolicsteroid from suppliers China, shows aTCOCaribbean FDreporting with laundering. fraud, insurancetaxevasion, andmoney prescription drugs,SocialSecuritydisability drug trafficking,thediversion ofcontrolled were responsiblefor illicitactivities,suchas owners, andassociated drugtraffickers— pharmacists,drugstorelicensed nurses, Rico. All targetedPuerto subjects—physicians, island’s economy dependslargely ontourism percent), and Caucasian(about10 percent). The 37 percent), followed by Filipino(about26 of itspopulationisChamorro ethnicity (about be approximately 167,245 people.Themajority By 2019, Guam’spopulation was estimated to Asian Continent,andAustralia. commercial hubbetween theUnited States, the and military archipelago andanimportant southernmost islandintheMarianaIslands Japan. Strategically located, itisthelargestand of thePhilippinesand1,550 milessouth of 3,300 mileswest ofHawaii, 1,500 mileseast Pacific Oceanlocated approximatelythe North territory oftheUnited States, is an islandin Guam, anorganizedandunincorporated Guam OCONUS and Tribal Threats 115 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG In May 2018, a Guam RO Task Force executed a search executed Force Task a Guam RO 2018, In May in the Village of Inarajan and seized nearly 18 warrant The a residence and vehicle. kilograms of cocaine from kilogram quantities in ounce to packaged cocaine was During March and April 2018, approximately three approximately and April 2018, During March points ashore at various kilograms of cocaine washed half of the island, near Mangilao, and on the eastern Andersen Base on the north Air Force end of Guam. the Guam PD-Mandana Drug Task In April 2018, one kilogram of suspected seized approximately Force search local cannabinoids during two synthetic and a Guam Customs In April 2018, warrants. of suspected Quarantine Officer seized 50 packets grams) while gross cannabinoids (487 synthetic conducting Service FedEx. Air Cargo Inspections for • • • residential dwellings. Marijuana is also shipped shipped is also Marijuana dwellings. residential packages Guam via postal amounts to in lesser the from air flights or transported commercial via mainland. U.S. a ballot approved Guam voters In 2014, “debilitating marijuana for legalizing initiative delay, Aftermedical conditions.” a multi-year the Guam Department and of Public Health Social Services, creating the in charge of medical marijuana, for rules and regulations the possible allowing has recently considered three dispensaries within establishment of the northern, central, and southern regions of sites. cultivation potential Guam, along with ten Department the of Public In January 2017, Health and Social Services began accepting marijuana commercial license applications for for also are available Permits cultivation. and manufacturing, dispensaries, commercial introduced was legislation In 2017, labs. testing the recreational use of legalize in Guam to years 21 anyone allow marijuana. The bill would one and possess up to purchase and older to licensed distributors. ounce of marijuana from marijuana initiatives, both 2018, Continuing into at a standstill medical and recreational, remain being fully implemented. from UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Marijuana also poses a significant threat to Marijuana also poses a significant threat in marijuana is cultivated Guam. Low-quality within typically located sites Guam, with grow to in close proximity jungle growth heavy During 2018, the Guam RO seized more than the Guam RO During 2018, prices 45 kilograms of cocaine. Current street USD per gram. Cocaine $150 $50 to range from is gaining popularity with the college-aged residents of Guam because it is a cheaper methamphetamine. to alternative Methamphetamine poses the greatest threat to to threat poses the greatest Methamphetamine shipped Guam. Most of the methamphetamine States the United from originates Guam to and the California mainland, primarily from or courier. via postal packages Washington, mainland Guamanians residing on the U.S. criminal to often mail methamphetamine very in Guam, who sell the drug for associates the Guam margins. During 2018, large profit 12 kilograms of seized approximately RO prices range street Current methamphetamine. USD per ounce. $700 $500 to from Drug Threat and Availability Availability and Threat Drug and marijuana are the two Methamphetamine Cocaine is principal drugs of choice in Guam. college-aged resurgent and is popular with the and illicit population on Guam. MDMA, ketamine, a lesser to pharmaceuticals are also available in clubs and bars. degree and often purchased and U.S. national defense spending, followed followed spending, defense national U.S. and services. and transshipment construction by Bureau, the Visitor’s the Guam to According in year second-busiest the island experienced million 1.52 of over the arrival with ever tourism Guam’s 2018, As of March in FY 2018. visitors Many 4.4 percent. was rate unemployment drugs, to crimes are linked of Guam’s violent of economic opportunities,alcohol abuse, lack attainment. and lack of educational OCONUS and Tribal Threats 2019 116 or personal goods. or personal drug suppliesandareusedto purchase vehicles proceeds arereinvested to purchase additional China, andother Asiancountries.Generally, the are sentviawiretransfer to SouthKorea, established bankaccounts.Similarly, proceeds United States orsentelectronically through Drug proceeds mailedbackto areoften the the U.S. mainland. methamphetamine reachingGuamindirectlyvia Mexican organizationsmay supplysomeofthe methamphetamine to theislandviacouriers. Filipino, andChinesetraffickers whosmuggle DTOs inGuamaretypicallycomprised ofKorean, Drug Trafficking Groups
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT largest intheisland’shistory. Factory Racing.”Thiscocaineseizurewas oneofthe the logomarkings of“Rockstar EnergyDrink”and“Fox for distribution. Thekilogrampackages ofcocainehad Source: Bureauof IndianAffairs Figure 87. Drug Cases OpenedinIndian Country, –2018 2012 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Indian Affairs (BIA)(seeFigure87).Indian Affairs programs according to datafrom theBureauof lawacross enforcement allIndianCountry 47 percent inthenumberofdrugcasesopened there was anoverall increaseof approximately increased substantiallysince2011. InFY2018, lawby enforcement IndianCountry programs has The numberofdrugcasesandarrestsconducted for distributionintheirhomecommunities. travelreservations longdistancesto obtaindrugs instances, distributors residingonremote traffickers and other criminalgroups. Insome cities to purchase drugs,primarilyfrom Mexican individuals andorganizationstravel to nearby available throughout IndianCountry. These mostoftheillicitdrugs transport dealers American criminalgroups andindependent Nativein majorcitiesnearthereservations. and isinfluenced by theillicit drugs available varies by region The drugthreatinIndianCountry Drug Threat inIndian Country Tribal Lands UNCLASSIFIED DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION Indian Country Law illicit drug transportation routes run through Enforcement reservations bordering Mexico and Canada, ensuring a nearby reservation’s reliable access High levels of unemployment and poverty to drugs. Further, Mexican traffickers play a are prevalent throughout Indian Country and prominent role in producing cannabis at outdoor contribute to Native American communities’ grow sites in remote locations on reservations, susceptibility to substance abuse and particularly in the Pacific Region. exploitation by drug traffickers. While marijuana and methamphetamine are the most widely TCOs continue to smuggle multiple tons of used illicit substances by American Indians, marijuana through the Tohono O’odham prescription drug and heroin use have increased Reservation in southeastern Arizona. This in many areas of Indian Country. Additionally, reservation accounts for almost four percent of powder and crack cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, the SWB. TCOs also smuggle lesser amounts of counterfeit fentanyl-containing tablets, and cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine through MDMA are also available at various levels. this reservation. Drug traffickers exploit the vast Mexican traffickers are the principal wholesale stretches of remote, sparsely populated desert suppliers and producers of most illicit drugs bordering Mexico, and the highways that connect available on reservations throughout Indian the reservation to major metropolitan areas. Country. TCOs also smuggle large amounts of illicit drugs into the United States through reservations that Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian border Canada, especially the St. Regis Mohawk Affairs Reservation in New York, commonly referred to as the Akwesasne. TCOs smuggle multi-thousand Indian Affairs (IA) is the oldest bureau of the tablet quantities of MDMA into the United States United States Department of the Interior. and multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine into Established in 1824, IA currently provides Canada through the reservation. services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to approximately 1.9 million The widespread availability and abuse of drugs American Indians and Alaska Natives. There in Indian Country, coupled with drug trafficking are 567 federally recognized American Indian groups operating in Indian Country, contribute tribes and Alaska Natives in the United States. to high rates of crime on reservations. Due to BIA is responsible for the administration and the wide range of violent and property crimes management of 55 million surface acres and traffickers engage in, the crime rates on some 57 million acres of subsurface mineral estates reservations can be higher than the national held in trust by the United States for American averages for similar crimes. DTOs engage in Indians. these crimes to facilitate their operations, while abusers generally engage in such crimes to support their addiction. Further, most Drug production in Indian Country is limited; reservations remain economically depressed however, illicit drugs are typically readily and lack the resources necessary to counter the available in cities near reservations. Frequently, drug threat.
UNCLASSIFIED 117 UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
The Opioid Reduction Task Force Initiative
During 2018, the Secretary of Interior implemented a general plan to help curb the opioid crisis in Indian Country by tasking the BIA, Office of Justice Services (OJS) to implement the 2018 Opioid Reduction Task Force Initiative (see Figure 88). The goal and objective of the general plan is to:
“Dismantle and disrupt opioid and heroin distribution networks in Indian Country by identifying individuals involved in the transportation, sale, distribution and use of illegal opioids based on intelligence obtained from cooperating sources, law enforcement interdiction activities, and current and historical drug trends, and to use that obtained information to further complex drug investigations targeting those identified opioid distribution networks.”
The plan’s multi-faceted approach to reduce the presence of opioids in Indian Country utilized intelligence based law enforcement interdiction activities and proactive operations high visibility traffic stops, controlled drug purchases, and other techniques as appropriate, based on real time intelligence obtained by agents on location. The plan has six primary components: the analysis of drug trends; to collaborate with federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to create force-multiplying partnerships; to conduct high-visibility enforcement operations; to utilize intelligence obtained to conduct covert operations to dismantle TCOs; to provide basic and advanced drug training to BIA and Tribal police officers and special agents; and to support drug prevention programs and initiatives.
BIA-OJS conducted multiple Opioid Reduction Task Force Operations at different reservations across the United States during 2018 and plans on conducting more during 2019.
Figure 88. Agencies involved in the 2018 Opioid Reduction Task Force
Source: Bureau of Indian Affairs
118 UNCLASSIFIED OCONUS and Tribal Threats 119 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Outlook likely and Guam will Puerto the USVI, Rico, their zones in transshipment remain attractive locations are strategic they areas, as respective Tourism, routes. smuggling along known shipping services and air travel, commercial on the islands’ influence will maintain a strong attract drug will continue to economies and to will continue The islands trafficking activity. TCOs, and illicit drug traffickers, by be exploited their customs launderers, primarily for money and mainland U.S. the entering for exemptions locations. strategic The drug threats in Indian Country will likely threats of nearby the predominate remain tied to American criminal in major cities. Native markets major cities outside to will continue travel groups of Indian Country all types of illicit acquire to traffickers. Mexican drugs, mainly supplied by likely and marijuana may Methamphetamine but remain the most widely used substances, prescription drug and increases in controlled near continue. Reservations abuse may heroin still will likely of Canada and Mexico the borders transnational along location their for be exploited smuggling routes. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Native American gangs, such as the Indian Indian as the such gangs, American Native and Boys (IBH) Gang, Savage Brotherhood in Indian presence had a continued others, American prison A Native Country 2018. during and with friends, family, gang communicated via use of outside of prison criminal associates within the prison telephones contraband cellular operations. conduct their drug trafficking to prospect new American gangs utilize Native and conduct drug transactions members to violent means. through collect on debts OCONUS and Tribal Threats 2019 120
ILLICIT FINANCE Overview e.g. bulk cash smuggling, BMPE, and TBML; however, significant shifts have occurred in Drug sales account for tens of billions of dollars the illicit finance landscape, complicating the in illicit proceeds annually in the United States. enforcement of anti-money laundering (AML) Illicit drug proceeds change hands numerous laws. Although for a number of years virtual times between the smuggling, wholesale, currency has been utilized as a common retail, and consumer levels of the illegal drug payment method to purchase illegal drugs market. The cash-intensive nature of drug online, it is now becoming more commonly distribution requires that all criminal groups utilized by international money launderers to involved in the supply chain need to overcome transfer proceeds across borders on behalf of a series of obstacles to successfully launder TCOs. and expend illicit proceeds. To avoid detection from law enforcement and financial institutions, Bulk Cash Smuggling TCOs employ various strategies to move and launder drug proceeds into, within, and out of In 2018, U.S. law enforcement officials reported the United States. The preferred methods to over 4,654 bulk cash seizure events, totaling move and launder illicit proceeds have largely more than $234 million USD according to EPIC’s remained the same throughout the years, NSS. This is a relatively minor increase
Figure 89. Bulk Currency Smuggling Seizure Totals, 2010 – 2018 $900,000,000
$0 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Source: El Paso Intelligence Center
UNCLASSIFIED 121 Illicit Finance 2019 122 drug proceeds. basedontheintendeddiffer destination ofthe confiscation, themethods ofmoney laundering continuing operationsand concealprofits from and domesticTCOs needtheserevenues to fund foreign sources ofsupply. Whileboth foreign the launderingofwholesaledrugrevenues for the United States by domesticDTOs and(2) thelaunderingofretail drugrevenues in (1) There aretwo maintypesofmoney laundering: Methodologies Money Laundering million). more bulkcurrencyin2018 thanin2017 ($76.9 three states seizedapproximately 10 percent seized intheUnited States in2018. Thetop approximately 36percent ofallthebulkcash Figure 90).Thesethreestates accounted for for acombinedtotal of$85.2millionUSD(see the highestdollaramountsinbulkcashseizures For 2018, California, Ohio,andIllinoisreported market. financial institution’s exit from therepatriation the Mexican financialsystem, andalarge,global limits ondepositsofphysical U.S. banknotes into due to theMexican government imposing strict bulk cashseizureshave beendeclining,likely bulk cashseizures(seeFigure89).Since2010, (1 percent) from theprevious year’s reported IntelligenceSource: ElPaso Center 2nd State 3rd State Incidents 1st State 1st
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Total $134,320,698 $741,874,995 $89,697,489 $76,876,076 California New York 2011 6,280 Texas Figure 90.Bulk Currency Seizures |Calendar Year 2011 –2018
$212,236,005 $707,844,909 $131,609,027 $67,967,434 California New York 2012 4,941 Texas
$111,560,118 $155,001,786 $617,669,236 $46,010,138 California New York 2013 4,964 Texas
UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED $555,640,396 $125,113,716 $36,913,632 $48,916,579 California New York Georgia 11,288 2014 Colombian TCOs aswell asfrom theresaleof illicit activitiesassociated withMexican and they provide. AsianMLOs seekto profit from lower fees andtheefficiency oftheservices networks, dueto acombinationofcharging years withinthemoney asleaders laundering Organizations have emergedwithinthelastfew deposit restrictions,AsianMoney Laundering economic policyandtheMexican government’s can beexchanged annually. Dueto China’s amount offoreign that currencyperperson concerns thatplaceda$50,000limitonthe a new economicpolicydueto capitalflight The Government ofChinarecentlyimplemented pressure. businesses inresponseto law enforcement companies rather thandirectlyto import-export transfers from nomineeandshelland/orfront TCOs areincreasinglysendingchecksand wire businesses. However, since2014, Mexican United States onbehalfofMexican import drug cashto businesses inthe export TCOs to ofbulk started engageinthedelivery restrictions onUSDdepositsin2010, Mexican theMexicanBMPE. After government placed engaged inahybrid ofTBMLactivities,including typically involve anetwork ofmoney brokers move drugrevenues to foreign sources ofsupply Common methods ofmoney launderingusedto Laundering Foreign Money Destination
$105,363,369 $552,975,120 $44,393,319 $44,479,560 California 13,902 Florida 2015 Texas
$453,097,191 $57,619,938 $36,348,800 $46,225,586 California Florida 2016 9,554 Texas
$230,429,484 $230,429,484 $40,678,269 $14,470,889 $21,769,124 California Arizona 2017 5,281 Ohio
$234,198,717 $45,384,190 $23,582,669 $16,261,179 California 2018 Illinois 4,654 Ohio
Illicit Finance 123 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG
Virtual Currency Virtual and method payment currency is a in is increasing that transfer value means of TCOs. public and among the general popularity 2,000 distinct virtual there are over date, To remains the largest bitcoin currencies; however, of As the use virtualand most used currency. virtual exchange currencies has increased, with converting assist emerged to services have versa. vice bitcoin and fiat currency into inspired by marketplaces, web dark Anonymous transacting in virtualthe now-defunctRoad, Silk illicit drugs and for currencies remain a source contraband commodities. other related States laundering in the United Money often occurs as the markets web dark these to amassing bitcoin or other result of vendors virtual them convert currencies and needing to vendors or Less sophisticated fiat currency. into and/or from will send bitcoin directly to buyers resulting in a an exchanger, to a marketplace funds. Others direct transaction made with illicit use bitcoin-mixing services funds’ that obfuscate exchangers. sending them to origins before comply exchangers because most U.S. However, criminals with AML regulations, domestic and peer-to-peer seek unlicensed exchangers exchangers or become peer-to-peer exchangers, also use less transparent may They themselves. virtual or Anonymity-Enhanced currencies inhibit investigators Cryptocurrency (AEC) to exchanges. identified to funds follow ability to UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
Evolving threats from cybercrime, identity theft, threats from Evolving and as virtual such currencies. systems payment new Movement and placement of funds through banks, banks, and placement of funds through Movement and transmitters, licensed MSBs, unlicensed money cash smuggling; Facilitation of illegal activity by merchants and financial merchants of illegal activity by Facilitation or complicit; unwitting whether institutions, Exploitation of banking products and services,Exploitation of banking products at with AML deficient compliance times resulting from obligations; The use of front companies to comingle drug cash to companies The use of front the the drug proceeds give to with licit revenues source; appearance of a legitimate Opening bank and brokerage accounts using shell accounts using Opening bank and brokerage disguise the identity of and nominees to corporations the accounts; the individuals who control Purchase, deposit, and use of cash and monetary deposit, and Purchase, in amounts under regulatory record- instruments and reportingkeeping thresholds;
• • • • • • •
Money laundering methods used by domestic domestic used by laundering methods Money businesses cash intensive normally involve DTOs as the import-export,as well service money sectors. estate business (MSB), casino, and real include: laundering methods money Typical Domestic Money Placement Laundering U.S. dollars in the United States to Chinese Chinese to States dollars in the United U.S. strict China’s evade seeking to nationals have These restrictions laws. control currency market black informal of an the evolution led to money move to Chinese nationals that enables for assets trading Chinese-based out of China by such as drug proceeds, assets, currency or other of Asian The involvement abroad. located also has illicit drug proceeds moving in MLOs looked have as DTOs years, increased in recent for of and payment the acquisition simplify to precursor chemical shipments. Illicit Finance 2019 124 large-scale operations. methods for for money laundering,particularly BMPE—will likely remainthemostwidespread methods—bulk cashsmuggling,TBML,and moneyin thenearterm, laundering 20thcentury movements orlaunderingoperations.Therefore, volatile andbestsuited for small-scalemoney vehicle. However, currently, currenciesare virtual they willgainpopularityasamoney-laundering more mainstreamandaccessible,itispossible currencieslike bitcoin,become use ofvirtual money launderingmethods, suchasthe century authorities.Astheuse21stand regulatory constantly evolve law to thwart enforcement to launderillicitproceeds; however, TCOs international standards make it more challenging systems. EnhancedAMLregulationsand and stabilityofdomesticglobalfinancial TCOs andcrucialto protecting theintegrity their illicitprofits are key elementsindisrupting regulated financialsystems andintercepting Apprehending criminalswhocircumvent Outlook
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
GANGS Overview cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and to a lesser extent, prescription and counterfeit Street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw pills. National-level gangs, such as the Latin motorcycle gangs (OMGs) continue to engage Kings, California Mexican Mafia, 18th Street, in and expand their violent criminal activity Bloods, and Pagan’s OMG, as well as numerous and street-level drug distribution in most neighborhood-based gangs (NBGs), were among communities within the FD Offices’ AORs. Each those gangs whose members were charged law-enforcement gang takedown occurring with drug-trafficking offenses, and, often, in these areas involved in excess of ten gang racketeering. members, with one California arrest of 85 gang members. The narcotics seized during these takedowns were comprised of an assortment of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine,
Largest Gang Threats in the United States
National-level street gangs, NBGs, hybrid gangs, prison gangs, and OMGs continue to operate nationwide to pursue power, financial gain, and expansion of drug-trafficking territories. Though gangs participate in a wide variety of criminal activities such as murder, robbery, extortion, sex and weapons trafficking, and burglary, street-level drug trafficking remains one of their most profitable endeavors. The criminal activities perpetrated by these gangs, and the violence and collateral damage that follows in its wake, continue to plague communities around the country and threaten the neighborhoods and cities in which these gangs operate.
In the National Gang Intelligence Center’s 2017 National Gang Report, the survey respondents reported that NBGs and local street gangs presented the greatest threat in their communities, in large part due to the gun violence caused by turf wars fought for lucrative drug-trafficking territories, while national-level gangs proved the second most significant threat.
UNCLASSIFIED 125 Gangs 2019 126 methamphetamine, heroin, andmarijuana. andtheycartels work together to smuggle and theGoodfella gangshave tieswithMexican ofSUR-13smash-and-grab burglaries. Members drug trafficking, financialscams,and extortion, Correctional officials,thegangisinvolved in not alignwithnationalgangs.According to a local,Atlanta-based street gang,whichdoes Sureño-13 (SUR-13) andtheGoodfella gang, includes In theAtlanta FD,gangreporting Atlanta FieldDivision to advance theirprofits. from onehybrid drift to often rules, andmembers gangto findthebest another inaneffort avenue as national-level gangs,NBGs,orfamily andfriendassociations.Thesegangshave nostructureor The term “HybridGang”refers to informal groupings from ofgangmembers gangs,such different them, butthey rarelydisplay thesamelevel ofsophisticationorstructureasnational-level gangs. jurisdictions wherethey live. Many take thenamesofnational-level gangsandattempt to emulate The term “Neighborhood-based Gang”refers to gangsthatoperate mainlyinthespecific inotherconjunction withtheircounterparts locationsto benefittheentiregang. symbols. They have apresenceinmany work andoften jurisdictions around in thecountry hierarchy, aconstitutionorby-laws, anddefinitive set ofrules;andsharecommontattoos and The term “National-level Gang”denotes highlystructured; maintainastrict gangsthatareoften weapons trafficking,anddrugtrafficking. usetheirmotorcyclemembers clubsasconduitsfor criminalenterprises, suchasviolentcrime, The term “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang”(OMG)refers to highlystructuredorganizationswhose of thepenalsystem. gangs areself-perpetuating criminalentitiesthatcancontinuetheiroperationsoutsidetheconfines and hascontinuedto operate withincorrectionalfacilities throughout theUnited States. Prison The term “PrisonGang”refers to acriminalorganizationthatoriginated withinthepenalsystem their criminalobjectives. further purpose oftheirassociationisto engageincriminalactivityanduseviolenceorintimidationto group identityofacommonname,slogan,tattoo, styleorcolorofclothing, orhandsign,andthe The term “Gang”refers to agroup ofthreeormoreindividuals,whosemembers collectively usea Gang Terminology
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED arrests of23gangmembers. associates to date. Itfollowed theMarch 2018 represents oneofthelargest takedowns ofGFG and heroin. Thismulti-agencyinvestigation included traffickingmethamphetamine, cocaine, of theGFGwere indicted oncharges,which In November 2018, morethan40associates operates inGeorgia. white supremacistprisonandstreet gang,also The GhostFaced Gangsters (GFG),aviolent Gangs 127 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal Field Division Dallas sees a wide range in the The Dallas FD AOR scope and influence of criminal gangs in drug trafficking activities and their relationships in involved gangs are heavily Texas with DTOs. methamphetamine, the trafficking of heroin, marijuana, and cocaine. The gangs that pose the are the Barrio threat in the Dallas AOR greatest Tango (MS-13), (BA), Mara Salvatrucha Azteca In October 2018, six members Latin Kings of the 2018, In October operating in enterprise gang, a criminal street and NorthwestChicago charged were Indiana, drug conspiracy and racketeering with federal Latin King members in Indiana. The charges marijuana, cocaine, distribute conspired to while one member committed and alprazolam, during a robberya double homicide a local of 50 Indiana. In total, business in Hammond, Latin Kings have of the members or associates Indiana as partbeen charged in of the case. 91.Figure Black Stone P UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED
In October 2018, a news conference with conference a news 2018, In October enforcement and local law state, federal, indictment racketeering announced the federal of 26 alleged members of the Chicago street the Gangster of gang Goonie Boss, a faction Disciples, and the FBI advised there are self-identified gang members in total 115,000 Chicago. In June 2018, 15 members of the Peoria, Illinois, members of the Peoria, 15 In June 2018, on indicted were Bomb Squad gang street Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Racketeer attempted include murder, (RICO) charges to weapon, a dangerous assault with murder, drug and felons, by firearms of arson, possession marijuana, crack trafficking. The gang trafficked cocaine, and heroin. A 2017 DEA Joint Intelligence Report “Cartels DEA Joint Intelligence A 2017 that the primaryand Gangs in Chicago,” stated threat in the that pose the greatest gangs street Disciples, Black Chicago area are the Gangster Nation (see Figure 91), Disciples, Black P Stone Latin Kings. The report and Vice Lords, also involved the Chicago gangs are heavily indicated in drug distribution, particularly and heroin fentanyl. Chicago Field Division Field Chicago In March 2019, six current or former members or former current six 2019, In March indicted gang were East Side Bloods of the Billie firearms on drug and South Carolina in Florence, investigation. a multi-agency following violations Members kilogram quantities of the gang sold and transported firearms and fentanyl of heroin Judge The District York. be sold in New to most the gang as one of the characterized organizations the federal criminal dangerous and in the Florence has prosecuted government Myrtle years. areas in many Beach Gangs 2019 128 methamphetamine andfirearms trafficking, The gangcommitted actsofmurder, kidnapping, racketeering, kidnapping,anddrug conspiracy. associates were charged inTulsa, Oklahoma,for 2019,In February 18 UAB and members Rolling traffickers. 90’sCripsarepoly-drug (UAB) (seeFigure93),IrishMobGang,and BrotherhoodIn Oklahoma,theUniversal Aryan methamphetamine, cocaine,andmarijuana. become thedominantlocalnarcotic resource for Mexican HispanicgangsinTyler cartels, have a steady anddirectnarcotics supplylinefrom Gangster Disciplessellmethamphetamine. With in cocaineandmethamphetamine, andthe traffic methamphetamine, theBloodsdeal and prescriptiondrugs.TheBandidosOMG sell methamphetamine, marijuana,cocaine, In theTyler RO area,MS-13 andEastSideLocos Source: Federal BureauofPrisons area. Syndicate, andWhite Knightsalsooperate inthe BrotherhoodThe Aryan ofTexas, Crips,Texas Blast, andTexas Mexican Mafia(seeFigure92). Figure 92. Mexikanemi
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT Texas Mexican Mafia/ UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED throughout Oklahoma. operates insideandoutsideofstate prisons UAB isa“whites only”prison-basedgangthat money laundering,assault,androbbery. The gang to inMexico. thecartels According to court Mexico, andmoney was beingreturned by the were beingsentto thegangfrom in thecartels investigation, itwas discovered thatdrugs around theSaltLake Cityarea.During the distributing methamphetamine andheroin street gangwereof theNorteño arrested for 2019,In February andassociates 33members City, Utah. trafficking arePueblo,Colorado,andSaltLake areas wheregangsaremostinvolved indrug level outsidethearea.The gangleadership little connectionto largergangsets orhigher- ThesegangshaveCrips, Sureños,orNorteños. callingthemselveslocalized sets, often Bloods, heavily influenced by gangs, other thansmall, within thefour states oftheDivisionarenot The Denver thatthedrugmarkets FDreports Denver Field Division Source: Federal BureauofPrisons Figure 93. (UAB) Universal Aryan Brotherhood Aryan Universal Gangs 129 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Tango Blast/Tango Blast Orejon Blast/Tango Tango Figure 94. Figure Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal profit-motivated The continual push towards will AOR gangs in the El Paso associations by opportunistic more create relationships likely among gangs and with cartels. These occur among all members not relationships may individual members of the gang, but involve associations. forming many instances, these local gangs travel to other other to gangs travel local these instances, many to Virginia, and West as Kentucky such states, main substances. Their controlled distribute to trafficking drug is from of income source and fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, include Drug shipments supplied by prescription drugs. are routed AOR FD’s the Detroit to TCOs Mexican major U.S. or via other the SWB directly from markets. Field Division El Paso their due to in Texas BA is a large threat violence, for propensity expansion, territorial with cartels relationships and gangs, evolving in human, drug, and weapons involvement activities. smuggling, and transnational criminal gangs in the area include Tango Other active Tango and associated Blast (see Figure 94) Mafia, and MS-13. Mexican Texas cliques,
Local neighborhood gangs in Michigan and gangs in Michigan Local neighborhood Ohio are often unstructured, unorganized, and with regional or national gangs unaffiliated Bloods, or Crips. As such, these such as MS-13, leadership gangs lack formal neighborhood structure and are often incredibly violent. In Detroit Field Division Field Detroit DTOs and Ohio, Mexican Michigan Throughout cocaine, are the primary of supply for sources Ties with and methamphetamine. heroin, Sinaloa and CJNG Cartel with are apparent, presence in northeast heavy Ohio. Narcotics the region by are transported throughout often means, most via the mail, tractor- various and supply local DTOs trailers, and cars. TCOs are gangs. These DTOs violent neighborhood generally poly-drug armed, violent, and heavily most often trafficking marijuana, traffickers, and prescription drugs. fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, In May 2018, 15 subjects associated with associated subjects 15 2018, In May Glendale with the the GlenMob, affiliated City, Salt Lake in west neighborhood distribute conspiracy to for arrested were During the investigation, methamphetamine. 15 pounds of methamphetamine, firearms, 15 pounds of several a half-pound of heroin, seized. The marijuana, and $36,000 USC were under the umbrella of the GlenMob gang falls of the Sur local Sureños and includes members the La Raza Violent Street 13, Chiques Towne Gang. The Violent Street Gang, and the Avenues rap group. as a its front for GlenMob is known documents, Salt Lake Valley has approximately has approximately Valley Salt Lake documents, Norteño with approximately sub-sets, active 10 Norteño active members. gang 100-150 drive-by for responsible been Norteños have and robberies, assaults, aggravated shootings, 30 pounds the investigation, homicides. During pounds of heroin, two of methamphetamine, were seized. firearms $26,000 USC, and 19 over Gangs 2019 130 and Mexican TCOs. working inconjunction withtheMexican Mafia and 18th Street have formed businessalliances such astheCrips,Bloods, Florencia-13, MS-13, andCJNG.Street gangs, of theSinaloaCartel relationships withmajorTCOs, suchaselements havemembers historically developed business cocaine, fentanyl, andheroin. Mexican Mafia from Mexico, includingmethamphetamine, domestic distributor for illegaldrugsarriving the area.TheMexican Mafiaistheprimary coordinating drugtraffickingactivitythroughout region andprovides for prison-basedleadership controls thedrugeconomy ofstreet gangsinthe Mafia (LaEME)(seeFigure95)prisongang thattheMexican The LosAngelesFDreports Los AngelesFieldDivision and BandidosOMG. Brotherhood, Circle, Gangster Disciples,Aryan Latin Kings,Sureños,Crips,Texas Chicano BrotherhoodAryan ofTexas, Texas Syndicate, has recentlymadearesurgence),Bloods, Blast, Texas Mexican Mafia,MS-13, BA(which 14 gangsoperatinginHouston are Tango December 2018 indicates thetop reporting Texas andtheUnited States. and outsidestate andfederal prisonsthroughout based Texas organizationthatoperates inside race- threat ofviolence.TheABTisapowerful intimidate victimsthrough violenceandthe violence. Oneaspectoftheenterprise was to with dangerous weapons, andother actsof extortion, murder, attempted murder, assaults which involved methamphetamine trafficking, convicted inCorpus Christiofaconspiracy, Brotherhoodof theAryan ofTexas (ABT)were In December2018, 16 andassociates members Field Division Houston
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Source: Federal BureauofPrisons (La EME) Figure 95. other drugsoutofthe SouthBay and the The gangdistributed methamphetamine and pounds ofmethamphetamine were seized. gang were arrested inLosAngelesand 20 associates oftheEast Side Torrance street In November 2018, and eightmembers did not pay orfollow itsrules. and carriedoutviolenceagainstsubjectsthat from thejailcommissary. Thegangthreatened drugs, andthecollectionofasharepurchases gang enricheditselfthrough drugsales,taxes on by Theindictmentstated non-members. the profits thathad to bepaid to theMexican Mafia Thirds” referenced thethird ofjaildrugsor by theMexican MafiainLosAngeles.“Dirty targeting ajaildrugtraffickingschemecontrolled subjects into custody inamulti-agencydragnet In May 2018, Thirds took 32 OperationDirty streets. carried information from inmates outto the and stolen Many cars. ofthewomen arrested heroin, counterfeit money, creditcard readers, pounds ofmethamphetamine, threepoundsof The takedown leadto theseizureof36guns,14 California, were arrested inOperationScarecrow. inOrangeCounty,manager” gangmembers In May 2018, 85Mexican Mafia “middle California Mexican Mafia Gangs 131 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Bloods Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal Figure 96. Figure In May 2019, the leader of the Mafia Insane Insane Mafia of the the leader 2019, In May gang, violent street a nationwide Vice Lords, Tennessee, in Chattanooga, convicted was Though the conspiracy. drug of an interstate members he used in Chicago, of leader lived drug dealers to heroin distribute the gang to Chattanooga, cities, including in numerous The and elsewhere. Atlanta, Memphis, Knoxville, District of advised that the Eastern Attorney U.S. abuse a surge in drug is experiencing Tennessee deaths. and overdose-related Field Division Miami with 46 subjects associated 2018, In November of the Bloods 20’s gang, a subset the Rollin arrested gang, were (see Figure 96) street and drug murder Florida, for in Jacksonville, cocaine, crack cocaine, Powdered trafficking. and ecstasy and 35 heroin, marijuana, molly, the investigation. were seized during firearms organized and the hierarchy highly The gang was cities other to branched outside of Jacksonville the gang had ties throughout The and states. Richmond, Augusta, East Coast, and cities like as some in California, and Baltimore, as well involved. were
In August 2018, five members of the Victory five 2018, In August gang operating Crips, a violent street Park end of Louisville, Kentucky, primarily in the west charges of using firearms pleaded guilty to trafficking and preserving aid narcotics to and reputation by power their and protecting gangs. intimidation and violence against rival obtain firearms using The subjects conspired to the and then transfer purchasers,” “straw felons. to convicted firearms In October 2018, the FBI reported the gang 2018, In October large remains in Nashville, Tennessee problem crime, bank and includes illegal drugs, violent The local NBGs create and extortion. robberies, will work in Nashville. They the most problems apartto conduct move turn a profit, to together again. activities, and then collaborate their own of the Gang activity continues in the facilities Department of Corrections. Tennessee Louisville Field Division Field Louisville area has a strong Tennessee, The Memphis, gangs 182 gang presence with approximately and 8,400 gang members. In December 2018, 29 members of the 18th 29 members of the 18th In December 2018, in Las Vegas, arrested Gang were Street attempted of murder, on charges Nevada, with a deadly weapon, assault robbery, murder, illegal drug sales. The operation kidnapping, and of the gang associates leaders key and targeted in an effort dismantle its drug trafficking to the to related Significant information network. within High Desertthe received was investigation where Las Vegas, Prison, 40 miles from State in illegal activities. involved heavily the gang was Harbor Gateway areas of Los Angeles. They They Angeles. of Los areas Gateway Harbor of pound-quantities trafficked also allegedly Colorado and smuggled to methamphetamine Valley Kern into heroin and methamphetamine in Delano, California. Prison State Gangs 2019 132 blowers, other equipment, aswell asfraudulent ofATVs,widespread theft lawn tractors, snow heroin. Thesubjects were alsoinvolved in quantities cocaine, and ofmarijuana,crack, arocket-launcher,guns, silencers, andlarge operation resulted intheseizureof53illegal motorcycleOMG andtheKryptmen club.The many ofwhichwere ofthePagan’s members which culminated inthearrestof50subjects, Patched Out”inWoonsocket, RhodeIsland, In May 2018, in“Operation DEAparticipated heroin andfentanyl. charged withemploying aminorto distribute Hartford, Connecticut.Onesubjectwas also of heroin, fentanyl, andcrackcocainein (see Figure97) were indicted for thedistribution associates oftheAlmightyLatinKingsNation In May 2018, 10 and allegedmembers Fitchburg, Massachusetts. in citiessuchasHartford, Connecticut,and gangs, affiliates oftheBloodshave beenactive other gangs.Amongthenationallyorganized maintain mutuallybeneficialrelationshipswith involved establishand indrugtraffickingoften trafficking, assault,and robbery. Thegangs gang activityincludesstreet-level drug inSouthernNew England.Street particularly associated withcrackcocainedistribution, gangs andtheirlocalaffiliates have been The New organizedstreet EnglandFDreported New England FieldDivision oxycodone. cocaine, crackheroin, fentanyl, and Tampa, conspiringto manufacture anddistribute drug offenses. Thegangoperated primarilyin Hillsborough County, Florida for firearmsand of theviolentBird Gangwere indicted in In December2018, 18 andassociates members
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED State Police history.” the “singlelargesttake-down inRhodeIsland andbankactivity.mortgages Theoperationwas unpredictable. Theultra-violentnatureofthese violence, whichisrandom, chaotic, andwholly They want to establishareputationthrough their to them thanmakingmoney.is moreimportant gangs arerarelyinvolved indrugsales;violence are difficult for law enforcement These to track. patterns andbehaviors oftraditionalgangs,they itself is.Becausethesegangsdonot follow the to than thegang the members more important unlike traditionalgangs,theneighborhood is no structureorhierarchy to thesegangs and, some areasyoung as8years old.Thereis have anaverage ageof13-14 years, and communities. Typically, thesegangmembers violence isanother majorthreatinNew Jersey remain asignificantthreat.Juvenile NBG National gangs,suchastheBloodsandCrips, to aggressive state andfederal prosecutions. In New Jersey, MS-13 activityhaswaned due New Jersey Field Division Figure 97. Source: Federal BureauofPrisons Latin Kings Gangs 133 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG New Orleans Field Division Field Orleans New as gangs as highly organized not Though street loosely affiliated in larger cities, operating larger metropolitan present in the gangs are Alabama; Jackson, areas of Birmingham, Street Orleans, Louisiana. New Mississippi; and of the illicit drug most for gangs are responsible These street violence. trade and its associated and cocaine, heroin, gangs typically distribute increasingly distributing marijuana, but are and MDMA. methamphetamine 400 In Mississippi, there are approximately members, and law Aryanknown Brotherhood in Jackson, Mississippi, reported enforcement in the gangs residing members of various 1,200 area. reports RO Rouge there are roughly The Baton identified gangs in their area, but these 17 or engaged in moving prominent gangs are not on Based drugs within or outside of the state. the 800 police incidents over approximately activity has been of their 35 percent past year, of drugs and the distribution and manufacture involved least 28 percent At scheduled narcotics. sales, and retail a large amount of possession, drug paraphernalia charges. Drugs sold in the area include marijuana, and methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, pressed pills mimicking scheduled drugs such as Xanax. and oxycodone dozens of members of the In February 2019, Aryan (NAE) gang supremacist New Empire white charged in a RICO indictment in Little Rock, were murder, which alleged attempted Arkansas, kidnapping, and maiming in support of its organization and wide-ranging drug trafficking. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED In March 2019, nine members of So Icy Boys, nine members of So Icy Boys, 2019, In March of the Bloods street set Jersey New a Paterson, on drug and weapons indicted gang, were of offenses. The gang dealt large quantities warfaredrugs and engaged in street in a local a number of shootings There were community. Bloods and other the So Icy Boys between gang of two in the murder gangs, which resulted investigation. members during the five-month cocaine, the gang included heroin, Drugs sold by as “K.” also known ketamine, and the anesthetic In October 2018, criminal charges were filed criminal charges were 2018, In October New membersviolent Trenton, of a against 27 to drug-trafficking gang that used firearms Jersey cocaine, heroin, their drug trafficking of facilitate Vicodin, Xanax, and crack cocaine, oxycodone, gun violence in the area Recent narcotics. other was believed of the drug trafficking operations between result of an ongoing dispute be the to gang. members of the conspiracy and a rival In October 2018, 17 members, associates, and members, associates, 17 2018, In October gang street Boyz drug suppliersFamous of the the for Jersey, New in Newark, arrested were and crack heroin, fentanyl-laced sale of heroin, firearms possessing and using cocaine and for in furtherance drug trafficking activities. of their area of South turned the Boyz The Famous an active into Avenue and 15th Street 18th sold openly on drugs were where marketplace the street. gangs makes them a significant threat to their to threat a significant them makes gangs communities. UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
Street Gangs and OMGs Operating in the New York Field Division New Orleans Field Division AOR In 2018, the New York FD encountered mostly Bloods, subsets of the Bloods, as well as MS-13 Aryan Brotherhood in Long Island, and to a lesser degree, Trinitarios, Bandidos and support clubs Crips, and Latin Kings. The groups traffic all Bloods available drugs, primarily marijuana, cocaine, Crips and heroin, and to a lesser extent, CPDs. NYPD Folk Nation reporting indicates the Bloods and their subsets Gangster Disciples are the predominant gangs within New York City, Hells Angels OMG and support clubs followed by the Crips and Trinitarios. Mongols OMG Norteños In June 2018, 20 members and associates Outlaws OMG of the MacBallas street gang, which operated People Nation primarily in the Bronx, New York, were charged Simon City Royals with racketeering, narcotics, robbery, and Sons of Silence OMG and support clubs firearms offenses following a joint DEA-NYPD Sureños investigation. Two of the defendants were Thunderheads OMG charged with a 2011 murder. The U.S. Attorney Vice Lords stated that the defendants brought violence, fear, and drugs to the streets of New York, and gang activity is responsible for much of the In November 2018, 18 members and associates violence in the city. of a Selma, Alabama street gang known as In September 2018, nine members of the the MLK Gang were charged with narcotics Bushwick Crew, a drug-trafficking gang based conspiracy and firearms offenses. The MLK gang in Brooklyn and Queens, were charged with is comprised of Crips-affiliated individuals who racketeering conspiracy, four counts of murder, used handguns, shotguns, and semi-automatic kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and heroin and rifles to protect their cocaine and crack cocaine fentanyl distribution. The defendants allegedly processing and distribution activities in the beat, tortured, and killed in furtherance of their Martin Luther King Street area of Selma. These heroin trafficking. weapons were often used by the gang against rival crack cocaine traffickers. In February 2019, a Middletown, New York fire lieutenant, two volunteer firefighters, two former police officers, and members and associates of self-professed OMGs the Burnt Pistols and the Chingalings were charged with trafficking fentanyl, cocaine, and counterfeit oxycodone, which actually contained fentanyl. More than $200,000 USC, 25 handguns, an assault rifle, multiple riffles, 10 vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine, and 1,300 fentanyl pills were recovered during the arrests.
134 UNCLASSIFIED Gangs 135 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Netas OMG Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal Figure 98. Figure In January 2018, a joint DEA and ATF led a joint DEA and ATF In January 2018, concluded with 28 multiagency investigation Boy of the Greenway members and associates gang charged street Killas (GBK) neighborhood conspiracies. The in Pittsburgh in drug trafficking to possess with intent members conspired to crack cocaine, powder and distributed distribute cocaine, and heroin. are the of Bloods sets various In Delaware, most significant national gang threat, namely a subset and set Murder Money the Sex state as the Fvstlvne Line. Delaware known are more validated there indicates intelligence gang and other any than Bloods in the state all manner of criminal responsible for are they and cocaine including heroin enterprises, OMG is also trafficking. The Thunderguards and in wholesale heroin be involved to known to the Similar trafficking. methamphetamine of the Puertoof the Figure (see gang Netas Rican 98) reported has been Pennsylvania. in central Pagans, the Thunderguards, OMGs, including been have of Soul, and Mongols, Wheels with associated some observed in Pennsylvania, trafficking. methamphetamine
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the Latin Kings, the Latin Kings, in Pennsylvania, Elsewhere represent the Bloods, Crips, and Trinitarios national gangs, with the threats from greatest involved most frequently Bloods and Trinitarios in poly-drugfaction trafficking and distribution. A Philadelphia Field Division Field Philadelphia national gangs are most NBGs with no ties to In and Delaware. in Pennsylvania prevalent urban areas, these Philadelphia and other gangs have geographically based neighborhood generations. been entrenched for According to law enforcement reporting, enforcement law to According in the region are operating DTOs international gangs, such street nationally affiliated to linked as OMGs, Bloods, and Crips, as well as MS-13, and Sons of including Hells Angels, Bandidos, Silence. In North Dakota, survey respondents reportedIn North survey Dakota, gang activity related that an increase in street to be partially trafficking is assessed heroin to a rise in gun violence. Street responsible for Minneapolis, Milwaukee, gang members from North are reported as coming to and Detroit opioids. and synthetic sell heroin to Dakota In Nebraska, Chicago-based street gangs are street Chicago-based In Nebraska, moved and have the state a rising threat to the local to heroin distribute to Omaha to community. In Iowa, law enforcement reporting indicates enforcement law In Iowa, Chicago and Detroit gang members from street fentanyl, heroin, distribute area to the come to bus. oftencocaine, and marijuana, arriving by are and Detroit Chicago Gang members from of the shootings most reportedly responsible for an ongoing battle area, due to in the Des Moines of the area’s drug distribution. control for Omaha Field Division Field Omaha Gangs 2019 136 American prisongang), andWest Side. Society (see Figure 99),DinéPride(Native Brotherhood, HellsAngels,Peckerwoods, Warrior the BloodsandCrips,LaEME,Aryan The mostprominent gangsinArizonaare years. illicit opioids,hasincreasedover thelast several inmethamphetamine and trafficking, particularly Law enforcement indicates drug reporting and heroin andother illicitopioids,respectively. aremethamphetamine,members marijuana, most commonlydistributed drugsby localgang and settling disputes between rival gangs.The drug-related factors, suchasprotecting territory Much oftheassociated gangviolenceisdueto weapons trafficking. in violentcrimessuchasaggravated assaultand distribute various illicitdrugs,they alsoengage their jurisdictions.Thesegangsnot onlyselland enforcement apresencein agenciesreporting for law enforcement, withmany Arizonalaw Hybrid gangsremainanareaofconcern Phoenix Field Division crack cocaine,powder cocaine, andheroin. possess withintent to distribute anddistributed FBI investigation. conspiredto Themembers with drugtraffickingconspiraciesinajointDEA- of theGBKgangwere chargedinPittsburgh 2018,In January andassociates 28members crack cocainedistribution. and arefrequently involved inretail heroin and most oftheviolenceinWilmington andDover, enforcement. Suchgangsareresponsiblefor who arethegreatest concernsto locallaw is thehybrid neighborhood/juvenile gangs, to violenceandretail drugdistribution pertaining Philadelphia area,themostsignificantthreat
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Figure 99. methamphetamine, cocaine, andfentanyl. witheasyaccesstogang members heroin, roles. Thecloseproximity to Mexico provides define supply, anddistribution transportation, relationships, ratherthan gangaffiliation, gang affiliation,orregionalties. Personal together, regardless ofethnicity, nationality, work inSanDiegooften Gang members street gangsintheregion. 100) isagoverning entityover theHispanic California Mexican Mafia(LaEME)(seeFigure in thearea,butonamuchsmallerscale.The OMGs andwhite supremacistgangsalsooperate (Barrio Logan,ShermanHeights,andShelltown). theirrespectivenamed after neighborhoods Neighborhood Crips),andHispanicstreet gangs 5-9 Brims),Crips(West CoastandRollin 40s recognized Bloods(LincolnPark, Skyline,and street gangslooselyaffiliated withthenationally active gangsinSanDiegoareAfrican-American indicates themost San DiegoFDreporting San DiegoField Division Source: Federal BureauofPrisons Warrior Society Gangs 137 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Sureños/Norteños Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal According to law enforcement reporting, the enforcement law to According and Norteños are seen primarily in eastern communities while the southern Washington primarily in King and Pierce GDs are found Counties and the Crips and Bloods operate of cities primarily in the major Washington and Spokane. Seattle, Tacoma, for trafficking oxycodone, methamphetamine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, trafficking for carfentanil. marijuana, and cocaine, One with the distribution charged was defendant Several in a death. of carfentanil that resulted the through marijuana distributed defendants Coast. These locations along the East mail to to aside their rivalries gang members set profits. maximize their drug-trafficking Field Division Seattle Seattle FD reporting most the indicates are State Washington gangs in identified street Norteños (see the Sureños (see Figure 101), Disciples (GDs), Crips, Gangster Figure 101), a strong have and Bloods. In addition, Sureños State. Washington presence throughout Figure 101.Figure UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED California Mexican Mafia Mexican California Figure 100. 100. Figure In March 2019, 20 subjects, including gang 2019, In March Rascal the Oriental Crips, Tiny members from and Boys, Viet Gang, Oriental Killer Boys, in San Diego indicted were Linda Vista 13, In September 2018, 26 subjects, many of whom 26 subjects, many 2018, In September of San alleged members and associates were charged gangs and La EME, were Diego street with participating in drug- and gun-related 228 guns conspiracies. During the investigation, were pounds of methamphetamine and seven seized. Gang activity in San Diego shows poly-drugGang activity in San Diego shows transport that gang associates sell anything and gang level, At the retail a profit. will generate members primarily sell methamphetamine, and marijuana. The trafficking of heroin, and diverted marijuana and pills, both has increased, due to oxycodone, counterfeit methamphetamine margins than higher profit gangs County, In Imperial and heroin. to and, predominantly traffic methamphetamine and fentanyl. heroin a lesser extent, Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal Gangs 2019 138 trafficking, murder, assault, andkidnapping. that involved narcotics distribution,firearms inaracketeeringwith participating enterprise were arrested inAnchorage,Alaska, andcharged a white supremacistgangknown asthe1488s In March 2019, 18 andassociates members of firearms. methamphetamine andunlawful possessionof were indicted for conspiracyanddistributionof presence inAda andCanyon Counties,Idaho— prisonandstreetgangs—powerful gangswith a KnightsandSeverelythe Aryan ViolentCriminals In July2018, 13 of people,includingmembers in KingCountyandSeattle,respectively. and theMongolsmaintainingasteady presence Washington withHellsAngels,theGypsyJoker, violence. TheBandidosarethelargestclubin extortion, humantrafficking,anddomestic trafficking instolen auto andmotorcycle parts, narcotics and arms trafficking, assault, homicide, incrimesrangingfromgangs participate OMGs alsooperate inWashington State. These cannabinoids andcathinones. cocaine, black-market marijuana,and synthetic have trafficked methamphetamine, fentanyl, operatingwithinthestateGang members State have beenknown to work inharmony. The GDs,Crips,andBloodsinWashington
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED and numerous fentanyl capsules. kilograms ofheroin, threekilograms offentanyl drum magazine,37 kilogramsofcocaine,ten rifles with extended magazines, one50 round currency, semi-automatic pistols, andassault that resulted intheseizureof$2.3million U.S. jurisdiction taskforce executed search warrants a St.Louis-basedDTO. During2019, amulti- have astheviolentdistribution armof served The 62EastCoastCripsStreet Gang(62ECC) the indictmentof14 gangmembers. velocity magazines,multipledrugs, cash,and of 16 firearms,includingassaultrifles,high April 2019 search warrant resulted intheseizure andcustomers throughtheir turf violence.An haveCrips gang,EarlyGangmembers protected methamphetamine. Withtiesto thenational Area asamajordistributor offentanyl and impunity intheSt.LouisMetropolitan The EarlyGanghasoperated withperceived territory. on facilitating drug distributionandprotecting assaults morefrequently andarehyper-focused gangs becausethey engageinshootings and these NBGsareagreater threat thannational Louis, Missouri.Locallaw enforcement indicate drivers ofrisingviolenceinSt. are theprimary fentanyl, methamphetamine, andcocaine and control thestreet-level distributionofheroin, NBGsoverwhelmingly The St.LouisFDreported to trafficdrugs. Memphis street gangshave moved into thearea heroin inthearea,andsoutheastMissouri, gangs inSt.Louisarethesource muchofthe homicide ratesthe state. in Chicago-based street which contributes to risingviolentcrimeand of heroin, cocaine,andmethamphetamine, In Missouri,NBGscontrol street-level distribution St. Louis Field Division Gangs 139 DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT DRUG Gang activity in the Washington FD AOR varies varies AOR FD Washington in the activity Gang D.C., Maryland, Washington, location. In the by traffic to is known suburbs, MS-13 and Virginia Maryland, In Hagerstown, and heroin. in cocaine wholesale are known and the Crips the Bloods Virginia, In Richmond, of heroin. distributors of heroin. distributor known the Bloods are a In Norfolk, a known Virginia, the Bloods are Virginia, the In Roanoke, of heroin. distributor fentanyl. and traffic in heroin to Crips are known members gang and associates 18 In June 2018, of set of Crips and MILLA 60s set of the Rollin Virginia, in the in Danville, indicted Bloods were organized gang of prosecution largest federal District of Virginia in at activity in the Western murder from least a decade. The crimes ranged of justice. obstruction distribution to drug to gang Go (TTG) To eight Trained 2018, In October in Maryland,Baltimore, members and associates and drug racketeering on federal convicted were murders, conspiracy charges, including nine distribute to witness intimidation, and conspiracy was marijuana, and cocaine. TTG heroin, gangs described as one of the most violent operating in Baltimore City. UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED Black Guerilla Family Black Family Guerilla
Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons Source: Federal The Crips are a kilogram distributor of marijuana, distributor a kilogram The Crips are primarily The gang is active cocaine, and heroin. in the Baltimore area, but also in Salisbury, Maryland. The Bloods are primarily active in Baltimore, The Bloods are primarily active of are a wholesale-distributor where they MDMA, and marijuana. The cocaine, heroin, gang is also reported such as cities, in other Maryland. and Salisbury, Hagerstown In Baltimore, Maryland, the BGF deals in heroin, of fentanyl, multiple kilogram quantities is active cocaine, and marijuana. The gang but has a primarily in the Baltimore area, such as within the state, presence elsewhere Maryland. and Salisbury, Frederick Figure 102. 102. Figure
The Washington FD reports prominent the most The Washington investigations in their recent gangs involved (BGF) (see Family the Black Guerilla include Crips, and MS-13. the Bloods, the Figure 102), Washington Field Division Field Washington Gangs 2019 140 will betheirmeansto thisend. AORs, andassaults, intimidation, andhomicide major distributors of street-level drugs in the DEA the nearfuture,street gangswillfight to remain gaining thegreatest drug-generated profits. For largest andmostlucrative territories, thereby gangs clashviciouslyintheirquest to control the increase asstreet, prison,andoutlaw motorcycle willonly on communitiesaround thecountry associated withdrugtraffickingthatisvisited of thehugefinancialgains.Theviolence by street gangs,whoareluredby theprospect rank amongthetop criminalactivitiesconducted America, street-level drugsaleswillcontinueto As longasillicitdrugsremaininhighdemand Outlook
NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
APPENDIX A: ADDITIONAL FIGURES
Figure A1. Map of DEA Field Divisions
UNCLASSIFIED 141 Drug MV Firearms Suicide Homicide Year Code Poisoning Crashes 1999 16,849 28,874 29,199 16,889 42,401 2000 17,415 28,663 29,350 16,765 43,354 2001 19,394 29,573 30,622 20,308 43,788 2002 23,518 30,242 31,655 17,638 45,380 2003 25,785 30,136 31,484 17,732 44,757 2004 27,424 29,569 32,439 17,357 44,933 2005 29,813 30,694 32,637 18,124 45,343 UNCLASSIFIED 20062019 34,425 NATIONAL 30,896 DRUG 33,300 THREAT 18,573ASSESSMENT 45,316 2007 36,010 31,224 34,598 18,361 43,945 2008 36,450 31,593 36,035 17,826 39,790 2009 37,004 31,347 36,909 16,799 36,216 2010 38,329 31,672 38,364 16,259 35,332 2011 41,340 32,351 39,518 16,238 35,303 2012 41,502 33,563 40,600 16,688 36,415 2013 43,982 33,636 41,149 16,121 35,369 2014 47,055 33,599 42,773 15,809 35,398 2015 52,404 36,252 44,193 17,793 37,757 2016 63,632 38,658 44,965 19,362 40,327 2017 70,237 39,773 47,173 19,510 40,231 *Information from Dr. FigureCala, ONDCP A2. Number of Injury Deaths by Drug Poisoning, Suicide, Homicide, Firearms, and Motor CDC, Wonder DatabaseVehicle Crashes in the United States, 1999 – 2017u
40,000 Number of Deaths of Number Deaths 30,000
0 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Drug Poisoning 16,849 17,415 19,394 23,518 25,785 27,424 29,813 34,425 36,010 36,450 37,004 38,329 41,340 41,502 43,982 47,055 52,404 63,632 70,237 Suicide 29,199 29,350 30,622 31,655 31,484 32,439 32,637 33,300 34,598 36,035 36,909 38,364 39,518 40,600 41,149 42,773 44,193 44,965 47,173 Homicide 16,889 16,765 20,308 17,638 17,732 17,357 18,124 18,573 18,361 17,826 16,799 16,259 16,238 16,688 16,121 15,809 17,793 19,362 19,510 Firearms 28,874 28,663 29,573 30,242 30,136 29,569 30,694 30,896 31,224 31,593 31,347 31,672 32,351 33,563 33,636 33,599 36,252 38,658 39,773 MV Crashes 42,401 43,354 43,788 45,380 44,757 44,933 45,343 45,316 43,945 39,790 36,216 35,332 35,303 36,415 35,369 35,398 37,757 40,327 40,231 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/WONDER Database
u. Drug overdose deaths are identified using ICD-10 underlying cause-of-death codes X40-X44, X60-X64, X85, and Y10-Y14. Drug overdose deaths involving selected drug categories are identified using ICD-10 multiple cause-of-death codes: heroin, T40.1; natural and semisynthetic opioids, T40.2; methadone, T40.3; synthetic opioids other than methadone, T40.4; cocaine, T40.5; and psychostimulants with abuse potential, T43.6. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug. Not all states report death data the same or at all to CDC, meaning nationwide counts of drug overdose deaths, especially deaths by a specific drug(s), may vary from statewide counts. As a result, CDC has stated the true number of drug overdose deaths is almost certainly much higher than the numbers officially reported.
142 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Figure A3. Top 10 States Impacted by Drug Overdose Deaths, 2017 Age-Adjusted Death Rate Number of Rank State Per 100,000 Population Deaths 1 West Virginia 57.8 974 2 Ohio 46.3 5,111 3 Pennsylvania 44.3 5,388 4 Washington D.C. 44 310 5 Kentucky 37.2 1,566 6 Delaware 37 467 6 New Hampshire 37 2,044 7 Maryland 36.3 2,247 8 Maine 34.4 424 9 Massachusetts 31.8 2,168 10 Rhode Island 31 320
Source: National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Figure A4. Average Number of Overdose Deaths per Day, Month, and Quarter Number of Overdose Deaths Day 192.4 Month (30 Days) 5,772 Quarter 17,316
Source: National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
UNCLASSIFIED 143 UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
APPENDIX B: ACRONYM GLOSSARY
4-ANPP 4-anilino-N-phenethyl-4-piperidone AAPCC American Association of Poison Control Centers AEC Anonymity-Enhanced Cryptocurrency AML Anti-Money Laundering AOR Area of Responsibility ARCOS Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System ASSMCA Administración de Servicios de Salud Mental y Contra la Adicción (Puerto Rico Administration of Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services) ATF Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives AUC Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia) BA Barrio Azteca BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs BLO Beltran-Leyva Organization BHO Butane Hash Oil BOP Federal Bureau of Prisons CBD Cannabidiol CBP Customs and Border Protection CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CJNG Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (Jalisco New Generation Cartel) CMEA Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act CPD Controlled Prescription Drugs CPOT Consolidated Priority Organization Target CSA Controlled Substances Act CSPMP Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program (Arizona) CSP Cocaine Signature Program CUBS Chinese Underground Banking System CY Calendar Year DCE/SP Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program DDE Division of Drug Enforcement (Bureau of Indian Affairs) DEA Drug Enforcement Administration DHS Department of Homeland Security DO DEA Division Office DTO Drug Trafficking Organization ECO Express Consignment Operations EPIC El Paso Intelligence Center FARC Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)
144 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation FD DEA Field Division FinCEN Financial and Crime Enforcement Network FRS Fentanyl-related Substances FSPP Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program FY Fiscal Year GAO Grupos Armados Organizados (Armed Criminal Organizations) GFG Ghost Face Gangsters ha Hectare HDMP Heroin Domestic Monitor Program HIDTA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area HSI Homeland Security Investigations HSI-ICE Homeland Security Investigations – Immigration and Customs Enforcement IBH Indian Brotherhood Gang LSD Lysergic Acid Diethylamide MDMA Methyldioxymethamphetamine MEX/SA Mexico-sourced white powder heroin made with South American processing methods MEX/T Mexican Black Tar Heroin MPP Methamphetamine Profiling Program MS-13 Mara Salvatrucha MSB Money Service Business MT Metric Ton NBG Neighborhood-based Gangs NDTA National Drug Threat Assessment NFLIS National Forensic Laboratory Information System NPP N-phenethyl-4-piperidone NPS New Psychoactive Substances NSDUH National Survey on Drug Use and Health NSS National Seizure System OCDETF Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force OCONUS Outside Continental United States OMG Outlaw Motorcycle Gang P2P Phenyl-2-Propanone PD Police Department PDMP Prescription Drug Monitoring Program PHP Public Housing Project POE Port of Entry POV Privately Owned Vehicles PSM Partnership for Safe Medicines RICO Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act RMB Renminbi (Chinese currency) RO DEA Resident Office
UNCLASSIFIED 145 UNCLASSIFIED 2019 NATIONAL DRUG THREAT ASSESSMENT
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SEA Southeast Asian (heroin) SOOTM Synthetic Opioids Other Than Methadone SWA Southwest Asian (heroin) SWB Southwest Border TBML Trade-Based Money Laundering TCO Transnational Criminal Organization TEDS Treatment Episode Data Set THC Tetrahydrocannabinol THCA Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid TTG Trained To Go gang UNODC United Nations Office of Drug Control USBP United States Border Patrol USC United States Currency USCG United States Coast Guard USD United States Dollars USG United States Government
DEA PRB 10-15-19-39
146 UNCLASSIFIED UNCLASSIFIED DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
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