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Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
May 2007


Powder cocaine routinely is converted to crack by street gangs in multiple locations throughout the Chicago HIDTA region. Crack distribution is often associated with violent crime in Chicago. Because crack distribution generates significant profits for street gangs, low-level rival gang members routinely engage in violence to acquire turf or steal drugs or drug proceeds. This frequent gang violence necessitates priority responses on the part of law enforcement to protect public safety; it also diverts attention from other drug investigations and is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Street gang members in the Chicago HIDTA region also cultivate small amounts of cannabis indoors or on public lands and use it to augment marijuana supplies from other sources; however, this activity is very limited relative to the overall availability of marijuana in the region. Additionally, little evidence or law enforcement reporting exists to suggest that methamphetamine is produced locally by any criminal organization or large-scale independent operators. National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System (NCLSS) data reveal that only three methamphetamine laboratories were seized each year from 2002 to 2005 in the four-county HIDTA region; two laboratories were seized in 2006.

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