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National Drug Intelligence Center
Illinois Drug Threat Assessment Update
Cocaine, both powdered and crack, is the primary drug threat to Illinois. The level of cocaine abuse in the state is high, and the number of treatment admissions for cocaine abuse exceeds the number of admissions for any other illicit drug. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, there were 31,321 cocaine-related treatment admissions in fiscal year (FY) 2001, a slight decrease from the 31,468 treatment admissions in FY2000. (See Table 1.) The number of cocaine-related emergency department (ED) mentions also is high. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), there were 14,879 cocaine-related ED mentions in Chicago in 2000. (See Table 2.) In that year there were more cocaine mentions per 100,000 population (246) in Chicago than in any of the other 21 metropolitan areas reporting to DAWN. In 2000 cocaine was a factor in a significant number of deaths in the Chicago area. According to DAWN mortality data, there were 464 cocaine-related deaths in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in 2000.
Powdered cocaine is readily available throughout most areas of the state; crack is primarily available in urban areas. Prices for powdered and crack cocaine in Illinois are stable. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), powdered cocaine sold for $18,000 to $28,000 per kilogram, $800 to $1,200 per ounce, and $75 to $100 per gram in the first quarter of FY2002. Crack cocaine sold for $500 to $1,400 per ounce and $10 to $25 per rock during that time.
Stable cocaine prices as well as current seizure reporting indicate a steady supply of cocaine, particularly in the Chicago area. In 2001 Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task forces seized approximately 2,660 kilograms of powdered cocaine and 16 kilograms of crack. These amounts represent significant increases from the previous year when 785 kilograms of powdered cocaine and 1 kilogram of crack were seized.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are the primary transporters of powdered cocaine into Illinois, predominantly the Chicago area. They typically transport multikilogram to ton quantities of cocaine from Mexico through southwestern states in tractor-trailers either intermingled with legitimate cargo or placed inside hidden compartments. Powdered cocaine also is transported into Illinois from other states by a variety of criminal groups and local independent dealers. In response to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) National Drug Threat Survey 2001, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials reported that criminal groups and local independent dealers in at least 10 states--Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin--transport cocaine into Illinois.
Cocaine often is transported from Illinois to other states, primarily by Mexican criminal groups and independent dealers. In response to the NDIC National Drug Threat Survey 2001, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials reported that cocaine was transported from Illinois to at least five states--Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.
Mexican and Colombian criminal groups are the primary wholesale powdered cocaine distributors in the state; street gangs dominate retail distribution of both powdered and crack cocaine. Crack cocaine--which usually is converted at stash houses--and powdered cocaine are sold at open-air drug markets, public housing projects, private residences, and in gang-controlled communities.
Cocaine, particularly crack, is the drug most often associated with violent crime in Illinois. Law enforcement officials across the state report that retail distributors frequently carry firearms and have committed drive-by shootings, assaults, and murders.
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