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National Drug Intelligence Center.



Marijuana and Methamphetamine Trafficking on Federal Lands Threat Assessment

Publication Date: February 2005

Document ID: 2005-Q0317-007

Archived on:  July 1, 2009. This document may contain dated information. It remains available to provide access to historical materials.

This report provides an assessment of marijuana cultivation and methamphetamine production occurring on and transportation through public federal lands.

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Executive Summary






List of Figures 

Figure 1. Six Regions
Figure 2. Top Ten National Forests for Eradication of Marijuana on Forest Service Lands in 2003
Figure 3. Cannabis and Marijuana Seizures, Department of the Interior Lands, 2003
Figure 4. Top Five National Forests for Methamphetamine Laboratory Seizures, January 2002 to December 2003
Figure 5. Methamphetamine Seizures, Department of the Interior Lands, 2003

Photo of a stream running through a forest.
Cover photo Corel                                              

Executive Summary

Drug trafficking organizations, criminal groups, and independent traffickers frequently produce and transport illicit drugs, particularly marijuana and methamphetamine, in or through federal lands. Consequently, several hundred thousand cannabis plants are eradicated and hundreds of methamphetamine laboratories are seized each year from National Forest System lands managed by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The largest seizures of cannabis from federal lands have been in California and Kentucky, where the primary producers are Mexican drug trafficking organizations and Caucasian independent dealers, respectively. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups smuggle marijuana across the Southwest Border through federal lands; Canada-based criminal groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and independent dealers smuggle marijuana through federal lands along the Northern Border.

Most methamphetamine laboratory seizures occur in the West Region and, to a lesser extent, the Pacific Region. See Figure 1 for a map of the six regions. Caucasian independent dealers are primary producers in the West Region; Mexican criminal groups dominate production in the Pacific Region. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups are primary smugglers across the Southwest Border and through federal lands. Seizures on federal lands along the Northern Border are infrequent.

Figure 1. Six Regions

Map of the United States broken up into the six regions.

Cannabis cultivation by Mexican drug trafficking organizations on federal lands is likely to increase, as is methamphetamine production, especially in the Midwest and Southeast Regions.


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