|National Drug Intelligence
Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
Drug Trafficking Organizations
Mexican, Caucasian, and African American DTOs and, to a lesser extent, street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) are the principal transporters and distributors of illicit drugs in the Appalachia HIDTA region. Caucasian DTOs and independent dealers are the predominant cannabis cultivators in the area. In 2006 Appalachia HIDTA Initiatives identified 250 DTOs and 1 money laundering organization operating within the region; 47 of those organizations were dismantled and another 49 were disrupted. Additional analysis of the 250 organizations indicates that most are polydrug organizations that transport and distribute a combination of drugs, including powder cocaine (133 organizations), crack cocaine (81 organizations), prescription drugs (58 organizations), marijuana (54 organizations), and powder and ice methamphetamine (34 organizations).5
Mexican DTOs are increasingly distributing wholesale quantities of powder cocaine, Mexican marijuana, and high-purity Mexican ice methamphetamine to midlevel and retail-level distributors in the region. Mexican DTOs also distribute these drugs at the retail level along with crack cocaine and Mexican black tar heroin. These traffickers obtain most of the drugs that they distribute from Mexican DTOs operating in Atlanta; they also obtain some from Mexican DTOs in Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee; Lexington, Kentucky; and cities near the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican DTOs generally limit their distribution operations to urban and larger suburban areas of the region; they supply Caucasian and African American distributors who operate in smaller suburban and rural areas.
Caucasian DTOs are the predominant cannabis cultivators in the HIDTA region; they also are the principal midlevel and retail-level drug distributors in the area. Caucasian DTOs typically distribute locally produced marijuana, Mexican marijuana, powder methamphetamine, powder cocaine, diverted pharmaceuticals and, to a lesser extent, Mexican black tar heroin.
African American DTOs are also the principal midlevel and retail-level distributors in the Appalachia HIDTA region. They typically distribute powder and crack cocaine, Mexican black tar heroin, and locally produced marijuana. Law enforcement officials report that African American DTOs have begun to distribute MDMA within the past year.
Members of street gangs and, to a lesser extent, OMGs also distribute illicit drugs in the Appalachia HIDTA region; their activities are largely confined to Knoxville and Charleston, West Virginia; however, no gang activity has been reported in Kentucky HIDTA counties. Street gangs range from locally based gangs such as Blood Money Gangsters, Los Tres Puntos, North, and 304 Boys(z) to nationally recognized gangs such as Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13), and Vice Lords. Members of these street gangs distribute midlevel and retail quantities of powder and crack cocaine, marijuana, Mexican black tar heroin, and ice methamphetamine. Hispanic street gangs in Tennessee also distribute wholesale quantities of Mexican marijuana and powder methamphetamine and midlevel quantities of ice methamphetamine. Members of Latin Kings in West Virginia also distribute OxyContin at the retail level. Members of OMGs such as Avengers, Brothers of the Wheel, Outlaws, Pagan's, Mountain Rebels, and Southern Sons manufacture and distribute powder methamphetamine.