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Strategic Drug Threat Developments


HIDTA Overview

The Gulf Coast HIDTA region encompasses 25 counties and parishes throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. (See Figure 1 in Preface.) New Orleans, Louisiana, is the primary drug market in the region; however, the city has not returned to its 2005 prehurricane Katrina status as a drug distribution center. Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, Louisiana; Biloxi, Jackson, and Oxford, Mississippi; and Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montgomery, Alabama, are secondary drug markets. (See Figure 2 in Transportation section.) Most drug markets in the region are retail-level markets that are dependent upon sources of supply located outside the region in Atlanta; Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Memphis. For example, traffickers in Atlanta supply illicit drugs to Birmingham, Huntsville, and Montgomery; traffickers in Dallas and Houston supply illicit drugs to markets throughout Louisiana, parts of Arkansas, and Biloxi; and traffickers in Memphis supply illicit drugs to Oxford and parts of Arkansas.

The Gulf Coast HIDTA region is the primary transit area that Mexican DTOs use to transport illicit drugs from sources of supply in southwestern states and Mexico to Atlanta and other areas in the southeast such as Memphis and North Carolina. Mexican DTOs transport powder cocaine, ice methamphetamine, commercial-grade marijuana, and Mexican brown powder and black tar heroin from sources along the Southwest Border to Atlanta using Interstates 10 and 20 and to Memphis and North Carolina using I-40. (See Figure 2 in Transportation section.) A portion of these drugs are sold to traffickers in the Gulf Coast HIDTA region for local distribution. In addition, Mexican DTOs transport bulk cash from illicit drug sales in eastern drug markets and from Atlanta through the region to the Southwest Border area and Mexico.

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