National Drug Intelligence
The distribution and abuse of powder and crack cocaine are the greatest drug threats to the Atlanta HIDTA region. The large quantities of cocaine available in the area, the level of violence associated with cocaine (particularly crack) distribution and abuse, and the number of cocaine-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities are indications that cocaine is a greater drug threat than any other illicit drug. Reporting from Atlanta HIDTA Initiatives.3 indicates that approximately 1,006 kilograms of powder cocaine were seized in 2007. (See Table 1.) Nonetheless, some law enforcement officers reported shortages of kilogram quantities of cocaine in the metropolitan Atlanta area in the summer of 2007; however, by the fall of 2007 those officers reported that kilogram and multikilogram quantities of cocaine were, once again, readily available. Additionally, wholesale cocaine prices appeared to reflect the summer shortage; they were slightly higher during the third quarter ($16,000 to $23,500 per kg) and fourth quarter ($17,500 to $25,000 per kg) of fiscal year (FY) 2007 than the prices reported in the first quarter of FY2007 ($15,000 to $22,500 per kg). In early 2008 mixed reporting from law enforcement agencies indicated that some powder cocaine wholesale distributors continued to experience decreased cocaine availability, while others were able to supply multikilogram quantities.4
|HIDTA Initiative||Powder Cocaine||Crack Cocaine||Ice Meth-
(in dosage units)
|Metro (Groups 1-6)||358.26||1.06||0.36||0.45||4.01||773.68||6.45||12.00||58,210.00|
|Domestic Highway Drug Enforcement (DHDE)||464.13||0.00||9.08||0.00||493.87||0.00||0.00||0.00||5,193.00|
Source: Atlanta HIDTA Performance Management Process Database, as of March 6, 2008.
The trafficking and abuse of ice methamphetamine and marijuana pose significant threats to the HIDTA region. Mexican DTOs supply pound quantities of ice methamphetamine to the Atlanta HIDTA region; however, it is not commonly abused in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Most ice methamphetamine seized in the Atlanta HIDTA region is destined for drug markets outside the region. Local powder methamphetamine production remains low because of statewide restrictions on precursor chemicals. Marijuana is widely available throughout the HIDTA region and is abused by members of all racial/ethnic and social groups. As with cocaine and ice methamphetamine, Mexican DTOs transport large quantities of marijuana from the Southwest Border into Atlanta.
Pharmaceutical drugs and MDMA are serious threats, while heroin poses a low threat to the Atlanta HIDTA region. The most widely available and commonly abused pharmaceutical drugs are prescription narcotics, such as hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone, and benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam and diazepam. Law enforcement officials report that pharmaceutical drugs are a growing problem among young adults, primarily Caucasian; however, few law enforcement resources are devoted to pharmaceutical drug investigations, according to Atlanta HIDTA officials. Therefore, the true extent of the pharmaceutical drug problem in the region is unknown and constitutes an intelligence gap. MDMA distribution and abuse are increasing in the African American community. Asian DTOs, predominantly Laotian and Vietnamese DTOs, distribute MDMA in the area. Asian DTOs operating in the Atlanta HIDTA region maintain sources of supply in Canada; these traffickers smuggle MDMA across the U.S.-Canada border and transport it to Atlanta using private vehicles or commercial airline flights. Moreover, law enforcement officials report that they have seized combination MDMA/methamphetamine tablets in the region.5 MDMA producers in Canada add methamphetamine during MDMA manufacturing to stretch their supplies and increase their profit margins. Heroin availability and abuse are stable at low levels.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funds are allocated to
nine Initiatives (program areas): Metro Atlanta Task Force, DeKalb Task Force,
Intelligence, Administration, Crime Lab, Prosecution, Training, Facilities, and
Prevention. Initiatives contain subcategories such as Groups 1 through 6 within
the Metro Atlanta Task Force.
4. Possible reasons for the sporadic decreases in wholesale quantities of cocaine suggested by law enforcement officials are increased pressure by the Mexican Government on Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border, and an artificial scarcity created by Mexican DTOs to drive up cocaine prices. The sporadic shortages may also be caused by Colombian suppliers' shifting cocaine from U.S. drug markets to European markets, where the traffickers are taking advantage of the stronger euro and, thus, diminishing the cocaine available to Mexican DTOs.
5. Combination tablets that contain MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as ecstasy) and methamphetamine or other substances have been transported south across the U.S.-Canada border since at least 2000. Various data suggest that the flow of MDMA tablets from Canada to the United States has been consistently increasing since 2003, and it is highly likely that the flow of combination tablets has risen at the same time.
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