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National Drug Intelligence Center
California Drug Threat Assessment Update
The trafficking and abuse of powdered and crack cocaine also pose a significant problem in the state, particularly in Los Angeles. The overall level of cocaine abuse in California is relatively stable but at a high level. According to the California Alcohol and Drug Data System, in 2001 there were 24,903 treatment admissions for powdered and crack cocaine abuse, a slight decrease from 25,069 in 2000. Cocaine is the second leading cause of drug-related deaths in Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to DAWN mortality data, in 2000 there were 471 cocaine-related deaths in Los Angeles, 84 in San Diego, and 146 in San Francisco.
Powdered cocaine is readily available throughout all areas of the state, and crack cocaine is readily available primarily in urban areas. Purity levels of powdered cocaine range from 15 percent to 95 percent, while the purity of crack cocaine falls between 16 percent and 99 percent. According to DEA, in the first quarter of FY2002, powdered cocaine sold for $13,000 to $21,000 per kilogram at the wholesale level and $50 to $100 per gram at the retail level. Crack is generally not sold at the wholesale level but is sold for $10 to $80 per rock at the retail level.
Mexican DTOs smuggle large quantities of cocaine into California destined for drug markets in the state and throughout the country. Several areas, particularly Los Angeles, serve as significant transportation and distribution centers for cocaine markets in the state and throughout the country. Most of the cocaine available in the state is smuggled through U.S.-Mexico land ports of entry in commercial and private vehicles. In FY2001 the U.S. Customs Service seized 6,455 pounds of cocaine at California land ports of entry.
Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the primary suppliers of powdered cocaine to California. They dominate wholesale and retail powdered cocaine distribution, while street gangs dominate the retail level distribution of crack cocaine throughout the state.
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