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Delaware Drug Threat Assessment
March 2002

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is available and abused in Delaware; it is not yet a serious problem, although it is a growing concern. Methamphetamine is not as commonly available and abused as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA. Most methamphetamine available in Delaware is produced in Pennsylvania using primarily the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method. However, methamphetamine produced in western states using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus method increasingly is available. Local independent Caucasian dealers and criminal groups and members of the Pagans OMG are the primary wholesale and retail distributors of methamphetamine in the state.

Abuse

Methamphetamine is not commonly abused in Delaware. According to state treatment data, Delaware had a total of 65 methamphetamine-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities from 1995 through 2000. Methamphetamine was not a factor in any drug-related deaths through 1999. Most abusers in Delaware are high school and college age students and rave club patrons.

  

Availability

Methamphetamine availability is moderate and increasing in the state. The DEA Wilmington Resident Office, Delaware State Police, and New Castle County Police Department report increased availability of methamphetamine. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Delaware had one methamphetamine-related federal sentence in FY1998 and none in FY1999 or FY2000. A gram of methamphetamine sold for $20, and an ounce sold for $1,200 to $1,500 in 2001, according to DEA. Pound quantities of methamphetamine occasionally are available in Delaware.

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Violence

The level of violence associated with the distribution and abuse of methamphetamine in Delaware is low because the drug is not commonly available or abused. However, methamphetamine distributors have committed violent crimes such as assault and battery to defend their territory, while abusers have committed burglary to obtain money or goods to exchange for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine-related violence has the potential to increase should availability of the drug increase in the state.

  

Production

Most of the methamphetamine available in Delaware is produced in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania laboratory operators in Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties produce pound quantities of methamphetamine using primarily the P2P method. Some of the methamphetamine is distributed and abused in Delaware, according to DEA.

Methamphetamine produced using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus method is increasingly available in Delaware. Most of the methamphetamine produced using this method is transported from western states; however, the Delaware State Police report a recent increase in the number of seizures of methamphetamine produced in Delaware using this method. A recent seizure of a laboratory in Pennsylvania indicated that criminal groups in the region are increasingly producing methamphetamine using the hydriodic acid/red phosphorus method. Some pharmacists in Pennsylvania and Delaware reportedly have diverted pseudoephedrine tablets to laboratory operators.


Methamphetamine Production Methods

Hydriodic acid/red phosphorus. The principal chemicals are ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, hydriodic acid, and red phosphorus. This method can yield multipound quantities of high quality d-methamphetamine and often is associated with Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

P2P. The principal chemicals are phenyl-2-propanone, aluminum, methylamine, and mercuric acid. This method yields low quality dl-methamphetamine and has been associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

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Transportation

Most of the methamphetamine available in Delaware is transported from Philadelphia by members of the Pagans OMG and by local independent Caucasian dealers. Criminal groups in California and, to a lesser extent, in Maryland and Virginia occasionally send methamphetamine to OMGs and independent dealers in Delaware using parcel delivery services. Private vehicles typically are used to transport pound quantities from Philadelphia, and parcels are used to ship pound quantities from western states.

  

Distribution

Local independent Caucasian dealers and criminal groups and members of the Pagans OMG are the primary wholesale and retail distributors of methamphetamine in the state. They usually purchase multiounce, gram, and, on occasion, kilogram quantities of methamphetamine from Philadelphia-based criminal groups or from criminal groups in California, Maryland, and Virginia. These dealers and groups usually distribute retail quantities of methamphetamine from private homes, trailers, and bars, among other rural areas of the state.

 


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