National Drug Intelligence Center
National Drug Threat Assessment 2006
Drug Trafficking Organizations
The vast majority of drugs available in the United States are supplied by a multitude of foreign- and domestic-based DTOs and criminal groups (see Appendix A, Map 3). Mexican DTOs and criminal groups, however, have become and will remain, for the foreseeable future, the most influential drug traffickers and the greatest organizational threat to the United States. Nonetheless, other traffickers including Colombian, Dominican, Asian, Russian-Israeli, and Jamaican DTOs and criminal groups are and will remain inextricably involved in drug trafficking within the United States at significant yet varying degrees.
Mexican DTOs and criminal groups exhibit far greater influence over drug trafficking in the United States than any other group, and their influence is increasing, particularly with respect to cocaine and methamphetamine distribution. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the predominant cocaine transporters and wholesale distributors in the country and also produce, transport, and distribute much of the heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine available in U.S. drug markets. Moreover, Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are expanding their trafficking operations. According to HIDTA and DEA reporting, Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are expanding their influence over wholesale and midlevel methamphetamine distribution in the West Central, Great Lakes, and Southeast Regions and wholesale and midlevel cocaine distribution in the Northeast and Southeast Regions. The Central Florida HIDTA, for example, recently reported that Mexican criminal groups are increasingly establishing large distribution groups in central Florida to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. The DEA New York Field Division recently reported that Mexican criminal groups have supplanted Colombian criminal groups as the primary source of multikilogram quantities of cocaine in some areas of New York City. Mexican criminal groups' influence over cocaine and methamphetamine distribution is likely to increase as they further expand their role in cocaine distribution in the United States, and as they offset decreases in wholesale methamphetamine supplies caused by declining domestic methamphetamine production with methamphetamine that they produce in Mexico.
Colombian DTOs and criminal groups are the principal source of cocaine and South American heroin available in U.S. drug markets; however, they are decreasing their direct involvement in domestic drug distribution. Colombian DTOs and criminal groups are most active in the Northeast and Southeast Regions of the United States, where they are the primary wholesale distributors of cocaine and South American heroin. However, while they are maintaining their dominant position over the distribution of South American heroin, they are decreasing their involvement in cocaine distribution within these regions as well as the rest of the United States. Law enforcement and intelligence reporting reveals that Colombian DTOs and criminal groups are seeking to distance themselves from U.S. law enforcement by either employing other criminal groups to transport and distribute cocaine on their behalf or selling cocaine outright to other DTOs and criminal groups, primarily Mexican groups; these DTOs and criminal groups then transport and distribute the cocaine in the United States on their own behalf and at their own risk. Additionally, while Colombian DTOs control the supply of South American heroin, they have relinquished some of their control over midlevel and retail heroin distribution to Dominican criminal groups.
Dominican criminal groups transport and distribute wholesale and retail quantities of cocaine and heroin in the United States; they are also involved in the transportation and distribution of marijuana and MDMA, but to a lesser extent. They usually transport and distribute drugs on behalf of Colombian DTOs and criminal groups and, to a lesser extent, Mexican DTOs and criminal groups and are most active in the Northeast and Southeast Regions of the country. Dominican criminal groups' overall control of the drug market is limited in the United States because of their reliance on Colombian and Mexican DTOs and criminal groups. Moreover, as Mexican DTOs and criminal groups expand their domestic trafficking operations, Dominican criminal groups probably will align themselves more closely with prominent Mexican traffickers.
Other DTOs that are significantly involved in drug trafficking in the United States include Asian, Russian-Israeli, Nigerian, and Jamaican DTOs. Geographically, Asian DTOs are the most pervasive. In recent years, Asian DTOs have rivaled Russian-Israeli DTOs as the most significant suppliers of MDMA in the United States. Asian DTOs--primarily Chinese and Vietnamese DTOs--are active in markets throughout the country and manufacture, transport, and distribute wholesale quantities of Canada-produced MDMA and marijuana, Europe-produced MDMA and, on a smaller scale, Asian heroin. Moreover, Asian criminal groups are increasing their position relative to wholesale distribution of high potency, Canada produced marijuana in every region of the country. Russian-Israeli DTOs are primarily active in the Northeast Region of the country, most notably in the New York City metropolitan area, where they typically control MDMA shipments from Europe. Nigerian DTOs and criminal groups transport and distribute wholesale quantities of Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin and, on a much smaller scale, South American heroin, primarily in the Great Lakes Region. Jamaican DTOs work with or on behalf of Colombian and Mexican DTOs and criminal groups to transport multikilogram quantities of cocaine, South American heroin, and Mexico- and Jamaica-produced marijuana, typically to domestic drug markets, particularly those in the eastern United States.
A multitude of foreign-based DTOs and criminal groups operating abroad and within the country will continue to pose a significant threat to the United States. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups will maintain control in their traditional strongholds, including the West and Southwest Regions, and will increasingly gain control of markets once dominated by Colombians, particularly in the eastern United States. Asian criminal groups with access to MDMA from at least two foreign sources--Canada and Europe--have surpassed Russian-Israeli DTOs as the primary suppliers of MDMA; they are also positioned to become key transporters and distributors of high potency, Canada-produced marijuana. Finally, other DTOs such as Dominicans and Jamaicans, who often work on behalf of more dominant DTOs, will continue to transport and distribute drugs within the United States; however, their relationships will evolve as market shares shift among the more dominant DTOs.
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