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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release [print-friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2007
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
202-307-7977

White House Drug Czar, DEA Administrator Release New Data Showing Significant Disruptions in U.S. Cocaine and Methamphetamine Markets

DEA Analysis Shows Price of Cocaine in the U.S. Jumped 44 percent over
the past nine months, Purity Decreased 15 Percent;

U.S. Price of Methamphetamine Increases by Nearly 75 Percent, Purity
Down by a Third

NOV 8 -- (Bogotá, Colombia) – Today, John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and DEA Administrator Karen Tandy joined high-level Colombian and Mexican officials to release an analysis showing a disruption of the cocaine and methamphetamine market in the United States.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s System to Retrieve Information on Drug Evidence (STRIDE), the average price per pure gram of cocaine in the United States has increased by 44 percent between January and September of 2007. The average price per pure gram of cocaine is now $136.93 (compared to $95.35 in Jan). This increase in price has been accompanied by a 15 percent reduction in the average purity of cocaine. Additionally, the average price per pure gram of methamphetamine in the United States has increased by 73 percent during the same period of time (Jan-Sept 2007) from $141.42 in January of 2007 to $244.53 in September 2007. This increase in price has been accompanied by 31 percent reduction in the purity of meth. This disruption in the cocaine and meth market in the United States has occurred following unprecedented pressure against narcotrafficking groups through coordinated efforts of the Governments of Colombia, Mexico and the United States.

Director Walters stated, “This report is the best evidence yet that counter-drug programs undertaken throughout the Hemisphere, from Colombia to the United States, can break the machine that delivers violence, corruption, and addiction to every country in this hemisphere. These results will be sustainable if we continue to cooperate and continue to invest. This is not yet victory, but it is a sign that we are on the right track and that we must continue.”

In Colombia, President Uribe has aggressively attacked the production, cultivation, and trafficking of cocaine. In 2007, Colombia had a sixth consecutive record year for illicit crop eradication and continued its aggressive interdiction programs and strong commitment to extradite persons charged with crimes outside of Colombia . Since President Alvaro Uribe took office, Colombia’s public security forces have prevented hundreds of tons of cocaine and heroin from reaching their intended markets, including the seizure of nearly 100 metric tons of cocaine and base inside Colombia already in 2007. This drains money and power from the international illegal drug conspiracies. In 2006, the U.S.-supported Colombian National Police (CNP) Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DIRAN) sprayed 171,613 hectares of illicit coca and opium poppy, and manual eradication accounted for the destruction of an additional 42,111 hectares of coca and 1,697 hectares of poppy.

U.S. cooperation with the Government of Mexico, has also contributed to a substantial disruption of illegal drug flow into both countries. Since taking office in December, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has deployed thousands of Federal troops in an aggressive crackdown on drug trafficking and related violence. More than 12,000 Mexican troops have participated in operations in over a dozen states to include Sonora, Sinaloa, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and the Federal District, among others. Additionally, the arrests of the Arrellano Felix brothers (Tijuana Cartel), and the arrests of Luis Reyes Enriquez and Juan Carlos de la Cruz Reyna (Gulf Cartel), have disrupted the ability of dangerous Mexican drug trafficking organizations to operate. Last week Mexico may have set a world record when their military and law enforcement seized 23.6 metric tons of cocaine in the port of Manzanillo.

“Increasing purchase prices for cocaine and methamphetamine in the U.S. market and decreasing purity mean one thing – these drugs are less available on the streets of America,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “Drug kingpins are having a harder time moving illegal drugs and chemicals and pocketing the illicit proceeds because they are up against the full court press of sustained, joint initiatives by a historic three-way partnership among Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. This rock solid, international lineup has disrupted the world's highest level narco-traffickers, made illegal drugs costlier and less pure, forced traffickers into an uncertain reactive mode, and formed the linchpin to greater stability throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

Over the past several months, U.S. law enforcement sources have been reporting a reduced availability of cocaine at the wholesale level, with reverberations affecting retail sales on average at the national level. To date, authorities in thirty-seven U.S. cities have reported various levels of decreased cocaine availability. Some of these reports indicate cocaine has been diluted with a variety of substances to stretch limited supplies. The 37 cities reporting cocaine shortages are: Akron, OH; Allentown, PA; Albany, NY; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; El Paso, TX; Grand Rapids, MI; Harrisburg, PA; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburg, PA; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Scranton, PA; St. Louis, MO; Toledo, OH; Washington, D.C; Wichita, KS; Wilmington, DE; and Youngstown, OH.

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