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Arizona Drug Threat Assessment
Publication Date: December 2003
Document ID: 2003-S0387AZ-001
Archived on: January 1, 2006. This document may contain dated information. It remains available to provide access to historical materials.
This report is a strategic assessment that addresses the status and outlook of the drug threat to Arizona. Analytical judgment determined the threat posed by each drug type or category, taking into account the most current quantitative and qualitative information on availability, demand, production or cultivation, transportation, and distribution, as well as the effects of a particular drug on abusers and society as a whole. While NDIC sought to incorporate the latest available information, a time lag often exists between collection and publication of data, particularly demand-related data sets. NDIC anticipates that this drug threat assessment will be useful to policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and treatment providers at the federal, state, and local levels because it draws upon a broad range of information sources to describe and analyze the drug threat to Arizona.
Your questions, comments, and suggestions for future subjects are welcome at any time. Addresses are provided at the end of the page.
Other Dangerous Drugs
List of Tables
Table 1. Methamphetamine Seized Within 150 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1999-2002
Table 2. Cocaine Seized Within 150 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1999-2002
Table 3. Cocaine Seized Within 150 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border by Location, 2002
Table 4. Mexican Black Tar Heroin Prices in Major Arizona Cities, Fourth Quarter FY2002
Table 5. Marijuana Seized Within 150 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1999-2002
Table 6. Marijuana Prices in Selected Arizona Cities, Fourth Quarter FY2002
Table 7. Marijuana Seized Within 150 Miles of the U.S.-Mexico Border by Location, 2002
Arizona is a gateway to the United States for a large percentage of the illicit drugs available in drug markets throughout the country. Large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are smuggled into the state from Mexico for distribution within Arizona or for eventual transport to drug markets throughout the nation. Other dangerous drugs are smuggled into Arizona from Mexico as well, primarily for abuse within the state.
Methamphetamine is a primary drug threat to Arizona. High purity, low cost methamphetamine is readily available, and the drug is abused throughout the state. Crystal methamphetamine is becoming increasingly available throughout Arizona; some areas report higher levels of abuse of crystal methamphetamine than powdered methamphetamine. Methamphetamine produced in Mexico is the predominant type available in the state. Methamphetamine produced in Arizona and other states, particularly California and Nevada, is available, but to a lesser extent. Methamphetamine is produced in the state by Caucasian criminal groups and independent producers. They typically produce the drug in ounce quantities using the iodine/red phosphorus method. Mexican drug trafficking organizations, Mexican criminal groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Mexican independent laboratory operators also produce methamphetamine in Arizona, but to a lesser extent. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups control the transportation and wholesale distribution of most methamphetamine. Caucasian criminal groups, Caucasian and Mexican local independent dealers, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Hispanic gangs also distribute the drug at the wholesale level. Caucasian and Mexican criminal groups, Caucasian and Mexican local independent dealers, outlaw motor-cycle gangs, Hispanic street gangs, and prison gangs dominate retail-level methamphetamine distribution in the state.
Cocaine is a significant drug threat to Arizona. Powdered cocaine and crack cocaine are widely available and frequently abused throughout the state; however, crack cocaine is more readily available in larger metropolitan areas such as Phoenix and Tucson. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups dominate the transportation of cocaine into Arizona. They generally smuggle cocaine from Mexico to Arizona through and between ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups control wholesale powdered cocaine distribution. Hispanic street gangs and African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian independent dealers dominate retail powdered cocaine distribution in Arizona. African American and Hispanic street gangs and independent dealers control the retail distribution of crack cocaine.
Heroin poses a considerable threat to Arizona. Mexican black tar heroin is the predominant type available in the state; Mexican brown powdered heroin is becoming increasingly available. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups control the transportation and wholesale distribution of Mexican black tar and brown powdered heroin. Mexican criminal groups, Hispanic street gangs, prison gangs, and local independent dealers dominate retail heroin distribution in Arizona. African American street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs also distribute heroin at the retail level, albeit to a lesser extent.
Marijuana is a significant drug threat to Arizona. Marijuana produced in Mexico is the predominant type available throughout Arizona. Locally produced marijuana and Canada-produced marijuana, commonly called BC Bud, are also available, but to a lesser extent. Cannabis cultivation occurs within the state and generally is controlled by Caucasian and Hispanic criminal groups and independent producers. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups dominate the smuggling of marijuana from Mexico into Arizona. Mexican drug trafficking organizations and criminal groups control wholesale distribution of marijuana produced in Mexico; Hispanic street gangs and Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic local independent dealers control retail distribution of the drug. Caucasian and Hispanic criminal groups and independent dealers are the primary wholesale and retail distributors of locally produced marijuana in Arizona. Caucasian independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of the limited quantities of BC Bud available in the state.
Other dangerous drugs (ODDs) include club drugs such as MDMA, GHB and its analogs, ketamine, the hallucinogens LSD and PCP, and Rohypnol. ODDs also include inhalants and diverted pharmaceuticals. MDMA is readily available and abused in Arizona and poses a considerable drug threat to the state. Other ODDs present varying threats to Arizona. Various criminal groups and independent dealers transport ODDs to Arizona via private vehicles, couriers on commercial and private aircraft, couriers traveling by foot entering the United States from Mexico, and package delivery services. Club drugs primarily are sold and abused by middle-class, suburban, young adults at raves and nightclubs and on college campuses. Hallucinogens are also distributed by local independent dealers throughout the state. Pharmaceuticals such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), benzodiazepine (Valium, Xanax), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), steroids, and codeine typically are diverted through a variety of techniques including "doctor shopping," pharmacy diversion, prescription forgery, smuggling from Mexico, and purchasing over the Internet, particularly from foreign sources such as Mexico.
National Drug Intelligence Center
319 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Johnstown, PA 15901
Tel. (814) 532-4601
FAX (814) 532-4690
National Drug Intelligence Center
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean, VA 22102-3840
Tel. (703) 556-8970
FAX (703) 556-7807
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