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Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
June 2007


The CVC HIDTA region is a national-level distribution center for methamphetamine and marijuana produced in the region as well as marijuana, ice methamphetamine, cocaine, black tar heroin, ODDs, and diverted pharmaceuticals smuggled from Mexico into the United States. Mexican DTOs are the primary wholesale distributors of drugs in the CVC HIDTA region, typically utilizing stash sites located at private residences, warehouses, and storage facilities in cities and towns throughout the region. In fact, law enforcement reporting indicates that since 2005, cities like Modesto and small towns such as Los Banos and Patterson along the Interstate 5 corridor have emerged as regional- and national-level transshipment points for drugs smuggled from Mexico en route to drug markets in California and throughout much of the nation, including markets in the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, New York/New Jersey, Pacific, Southwest, and West Central Regions.

Many criminal groups and street gangs in the HIDTA region distribute illicit drugs at the midlevel and retail level in their respective areas. No group or gang dominates midlevel or retail distribution because of constantly changing dynamics in the region's drug trade, including access to weapons and drug supplies. These groups and gangs typically are supplied by Mexican DTOs. Drug sales in metropolitan areas take place in open-air markets (located on streets and in parking lots) and in clubs and bars; distributors sell to both new, unfamiliar customers and well-known, repeat customers. Drug sales in rural areas usually take place at prearranged locations and typically are between a dealer and known or referred customers. Law enforcement reporting indicates that distributors use cell phones, satellite phones, pagers, and other personal communication devices to communicate with sources and customers. In addition, distributors often use text messages consisting of code words that allow them to communicate with reduced risk of detection.

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