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NDIC seal linked to Home page. National Drug Intelligence Center
Maryland Drug Threat Assessment
August 2002


The abuse of methamphetamine in Maryland is limited, and the drug is infrequently available. Violent crime is not often associated with methamphetamine abuse or distribution in the state, but the potential for violence exists. Most of the methamphetamine available in the state is produced in Mexico, California, and southwestern states, although some is produced in Maryland. Mexican criminal groups are the dominant transporters and wholesale distributors of most of the methamphetamine available in the state. These groups transport methamphetamine primarily via package delivery services. OMGs and local independent dealers are the dominant distributors of the drug at the retail level.



Methamphetamine abuse is limited in Maryland. According to TEDS, in 1999 there were no methamphetamine-related admissions to publicly funded facilities. Methamphetamine-related treatment admissions had increased overall from 58 in 1994 to 121 in 1997, then declined dramatically to 1 in 1998 and 0 in 1999. (See Table 1 in Overview section.)

In Baltimore the number of methamphetamine-related ED mentions increased overall from 4 in 1994 to 10 in 1999, then decreased to 6 in 2000, according to DAWN. Mortality data from DAWN indicate that in the Baltimore metropolitan area methamphetamine was a factor in 16 deaths in 1999 and 1 in 2000. In 1999, 13 of the 16 deaths in which methamphetamine was a factor occurred in the city of Baltimore.

Methamphetamine is abused primarily by lower to lower-middle income, blue-collar Caucasians, some of whom have ties to "traditional" methamphetamine abusers--motorcycle gang members and long-distance truckers. However, according to DEA, methamphetamine also is abused in Maryland by white-collar professionals, business owners, teenagers and young adults, and within the homosexual population. The 2001 Maryland Adolescent Survey reports that the percentage of eighth and twelfth grade students who reported having abused methamphetamine in the past 30 days decreased from 1996 to 1998, and the rates for sixth and tenth grade students increased over the same time period. From 1998 to 2001 the percentage of students in sixth, eighth, and tenth grades who reported having abused methamphetamine in the past 30 days decreased, and the rate of abuse remained stable among twelfth grade students.

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Methamphetamine is infrequently available in Maryland. The Maryland State Police reports that methamphetamine sells for $80 to $200 per gram statewide. In Baltimore DEA reports that methamphetamine prices average $150 per gram. According to FDSS data, federal law enforcement agencies in Maryland seized 1.9 kilograms of methamphetamine in FY1999 and 1.0 kilogram in FY2000.

The percentage of federal drug sentences that were methamphetamine-related in Maryland was lower than the national percentage in FY2000. According to the USSC, 1.7 percent of drug-related federal sentences in Maryland in FY2000 were methamphetamine-related, much lower than the 14.5 percent nationwide.



Violence associated with methamphetamine distribution and abuse in Maryland is minimal. Methamphetamine abusers sometimes experience feelings of paranoia, fright, and confusion and, consequently, may become violent. Also, individuals addicted to methamphetamine are unpredictable and may resort to violence to obtain the drug.



There is little methamphetamine production in Maryland. Most of the methamphetamine available in the state is produced in Mexico, California, and southwestern states before being transported into Maryland by Mexican criminal groups. Although local independent dealers produce some methamphetamine in Maryland, most methamphetamine laboratories are small and often are dismantled or nonoperational at the time of law enforcement seizure. These small laboratories probably use either the Birch reduction or the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) production method. In October 1998 Anne Arundel County Police charged a man with producing methamphetamine in a laboratory (type unidentified), which was the first laboratory seized by the county police in a decade.

Methamphetamine Production Methods

  • Birch reduction. The principal chemicals are ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, anhydrous ammonia, and sodium or lithium metal. Also known as the Nazi method, this method typically yields ounce quantities of high quality d-methamphetamine and often is used by independent dealers and producers.
  • Phenyl-2-propanone (P2P). The principal chemicals are phenyl-2-propanone, aluminum, methylamine, and mercuric acid. This method yields lower quality dl-methamphetamine and has been associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.

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Mexican criminal groups are the dominant transporters of most of the methamphetamine available in Maryland. Mexican criminal groups typically transport multipound quantities of the drug from southwestern states into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, primarily via package delivery services but also by using couriers in automobiles and on airplanes. Local independent dealers, criminal elements among Mexican migrant farm workers, and OMGs transport the drug from Virginia into Maryland by private vehicle and via package delivery services.



Virginia-based Mexican criminal groups operating in the Shenandoah Valley are the dominant wholesale distributors of the methamphetamine available in Maryland, although wholesale distribution usually takes place outside the state. Typically, Maryland-based local independent dealers, OMGs, and other retail distributors travel to Virginia, purchase methamphetamine from Mexican criminal groups, and transport the drug back to Maryland.

Local independent dealers who frequent rave parties and OMGs conduct most of the retail methamphetamine distribution in Maryland. The Baltimore County Police Department and the Frederick County Sheriff's Office report that local independent dealers distribute methamphetamine at the retail level in those two counties. Retail distribution of methamphetamine by Mexican criminal groups has also been reported in the Baltimore suburbs, but to a lesser extent.

Clergyman Gets 9 Months in Drug Case

A clergyman arrested in October 2000 for distributing illegal drugs from his church was convicted in March 2001 and sentenced to 9 months in jail. The clergyman, a methamphetamine abuser, was arrested by Montgomery County Police. The arresting officers seized methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $14,000 from the church rectory--one of the biggest seizures of the drug in the area.

Source: Associated Press, 20 March 2001.


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