National Drug Intelligence Center
Illicit drug abuse levels in the Central Valley HIDTA region are high, particularly for ice methamphetamine. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reveal that methamphetamines/amphetamines were identified more often than any other drug, including alcohol, as the primary substance of abuse for treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities statewide in California from 2003 through 2007 (the latest year for which data are available). (See Table 6.) Treatment admissions for marijuana abuse are also high and increasing but are not considered to be as significant as those for methamphetamine abuse, the effects of which are much more difficult to treat. Cocaine, heroin, and ODDs are also commonly distributed and abused within the HIDTA region.
Table 6. Drug-Related Treatment Admissions to Publicly Funded Facilities in California, 2003-2007
Source: Treatment Episode Data Set.
Abuse of diverted CPDs is an increasing problem within the region, especially among teenagers and young adults. According to treatment providers, the most sought-after and abused CPDs are benzodiazepines, hydrocodones, oxycodones, synthetic opioids, and Schedule IV diet drugs. Distributors and abusers commonly divert CPDs through doctor-shopping, drug thefts, prescription forgery, and Internet purchases. The fraudulent and illegal sale of controlled prescription drugs over the Internet is a particular concern to law enforcement officials and treatment providers in the region.
Mexican DTOs use bulk cash smuggling as their primary means of returning drug proceeds generated in the Central Valley HIDTA to source areas in Mexico. Mexican DTOs regularly transport proceeds from wholesale drug transactions in other regions of the United States to the HIDTA region, where they are often combined with proceeds generated from wholesale transactions in the region. The bulk cash is then transported back to Mexico for repatriation.3 Asian DTOs also consolidate drug proceeds in the region, which are then transported in bulk or by wire to Canada or Asia.
3. Each year Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers operating in the United States bulk-smuggle billions of U.S. dollars into Mexico. Repatriation--the return of these dollars to their country of origin (the United States)--is often an important part of the money laundering process for these traffickers. Repatriation of these funds is beneficial to Mexican and Colombian traffickers because it simplifies the placement of funds into the U.S. financial system.
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