National Drug Intelligence Center
National Drug Threat Assessment 2006
Strategic Drug Threat Developments
Significant progress has been made by the counterdrug community
in reducing demand for marijuana, heroin, and MDMA. Additionally, the
availability of LSD and GHB--drugs that have appealed particularly to
adolescents--has decreased significantly, and heroin availability appears to be
declining as well. However, the distribution and abuse of cocaine, marijuana,
and methamphetamine continue to pose considerable threats to communities
throughout the nation.
For the second consecutive year, a higher percentage of state
and local law enforcement agencies nationwide (39.2%) have identified
methamphetamine as the drug that poses the greatest threat to their area than
the percentage that identified any other drug, according to the National Drug
Threat Survey 2005 (see Appendix A, Map 2).
Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups are
the most influential drug traffickers in the United States, and their influence
is increasing. They are the predominant smugglers, transporters, and wholesale
distributors of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and Mexico-produced heroin
in the United States; they are expanding their control over the distribution of
these drugs in areas long controlled by Colombian and Dominican criminal groups,
including areas of New York and Florida.
Canada-based Asian criminal groups with access to MDMA from
Canada and Europe have surpassed Russian-Israeli drug trafficking organizations
as the primary suppliers of MDMA to U.S. drug markets; they are also positioned
to become the predominant transporters and distributors of high potency,
Many street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs
have evolved from loosely organized, turf-oriented entities to well-organized,
profit-driven criminal enterprises whose activities include not only retail drug
distribution but also other aspects of the trade, including smuggling,
transportation, and wholesale distribution.
Currently available national-level data and law enforcement
reporting tends to indicate stable domestic cocaine availability, even in
smaller drug markets. However, Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis
of retail-level cocaine purity and price data indicates that the purity of
cocaine is starting to decline, possibly due to the effects of significant
declines in estimated cocaine production and increases in cocaine interdiction.
Domestic methamphetamine production, while decreasing--a result
of increased law enforcement pressure, public awareness campaigns, and
regulation on the sale and use of precursor and essential chemicals used in
methamphetamine production--continues to jeopardize the safety of citizens,
adversely affect the environment, and strain law enforcement resources.
Children, law enforcement personnel, emergency responders, and those who live at
or near methamphetamine production sites have been seriously injured or killed
as a result of methamphetamine production. Chemical waste from methamphetamine
laboratories has killed livestock, contaminated streams and soil, and destroyed
vegetation. Clandestine methamphetamine laboratories have caused law enforcement
agencies throughout the nation to devote inordinate amounts of time and manpower
to the investigation and cleanup of these laboratories.
Decreases in domestic methamphetamine production have been
offset by increased production in Mexico. Moreover, illicit methamphetamine
production capacity in Mexico appears sufficient to offset further reductions in
domestic methamphetamine production.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups have
emerged as the primary wholesale drug money launderers in the country because of
the increasing influence they are exerting on domestic drug trafficking. Mexican
traffickers typically transport their drug proceeds from U.S. market areas to
areas in proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. These proceeds are aggregated and
eventually smuggled in bulk into Mexico for repatriation or for further
transport to South America.
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