National Drug Intelligence Center
Mexican DTOs will continue to use Gulf Coast highways as the primary transportation corridor for illicit drugs that they transport from the Southwest Border area to Atlanta for further distribution to eastern drug markets. Mexican DTOs have established distribution and transportation networks that are unrivaled by any other organizations in the region and will remain so in the near term. Law enforcement efforts in Mexico and along the Southwest Border, combined with intercartel violence, might sporadically disrupt the flow of illicit drugs to and through the Gulf Coast HIDTA region. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that potential disruptions will sufficiently weaken Mexican DTO dominance over the wholesale distribution of powder cocaine, commercial-grade marijuana, ice methamphetamine, and heroin in the Gulf Coast HIDTA region.
Local methamphetamine production in the Gulf Coast HIDTA region will most likely increase moderately in the near term. A rising number of small-scale methamphetamine laboratories and the emergence of pseudoephedrine smurfing operations in the region create conditions conducive to an increase in local methamphetamine production.
Heroin availability will most likely increase in some Gulf Coast HIDTA cities that had not been considered to be heroin markets, but overall availability will remain low. Mexican DTOs and Hispanic traffickers have increasingly marketed Mexican heroin in the region, specifically in portions of Alabama and Arkansas.
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