National Drug Intelligence
The Central Valley California HIDTA was established in California in 1999 to address the threat posed to the region by illicit drugs and comprised Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare Counties, encompassing more than 28,000 square miles in Central California, with a population of approximately 5 million. In February 2008, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of Shasta County, California, as an addition to the region because of the significant amount of cannabis cultivation that occurs in the county. The addition of Shasta County will increase the HIDTA's land area by approximately 3,800 square miles and the population by approximately 180,000 persons. (See Figure 1 in Preface.) For the purposes of this report, however, Shasta County was not considered, as the report focuses on Central Valley HIDTA activity during the 2007 calendar year.
A well-developed transportation infrastructure in the region provides for the smooth flow of commerce, which aids DTOs in the transshipment and distribution of illicit drugs and drug proceeds to and through the area. The favorable climate in Central California that supports the region's robust agricultural industry also sustains widespread outdoor cannabis cultivation operations run by Mexican DTOs and, to a much lesser extent, Asian criminal groups. Additionally, the diverse migrant worker population in the HIDTA region employed by Central California's agricultural industry provides a community in which Mexican DTOs can operate with some anonymity.
1. Methamphetamine superlabs are clandestine laboratories capable of producing 10 or more pounds per production cycle.
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