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Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
June 2007

Drug Trafficking Organizations

International and multistate DTOs pose a significant threat to Hawaii and, hence, are a primary focus of law enforcement officials. These organizations maintain a continuous supply of drugs to Hawaii, feeding a high level of drug abuse as well as a statewide drug market that generates high property crime, domestic abuse and child endangerment, and endangerment to the general population.

Mexican DTOs

Mexican DTOs pose the most serious organizational threat to Hawaii because their expansive drug distribution networks enable them to consistently supply Hawaii with wholesale quantities of ice methamphetamine, cocaine, and Mexican black tar heroin. To distance themselves from law enforcement scrutiny, Mexican DTOs typically focus their efforts on wholesale-level sales, supplying smaller Mexican and Asia-Pacific mixed race DTOs that transport and distribute drugs in Hawaii. Of the Mexican DTOs that are based in Hawaii, the majority are located in areas with higher concentrations of Hispanic residents, particularly Honolulu and Maui Counties.

Asian DTOs

The number of Asian DTOs (typically ethnic Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Laotian, Thai, or Vietnamese) exceeds that of all other DTOs operating in the HIDTA region; however, law enforcement officials in Hawaii report that Asian DTOs are a secondary organizational threat to the state because they lack the entrenched distribution networks of their Mexican counterparts. Asian DTOs transport and distribute wholesale quantities of ice methamphetamine from sources in California and Asia. These traffickers also transport and distribute high-potency marijuana from sources in Canada, California, and Washington. In addition, they transport small quantities of Asia heroin. Law enforcement and intelligence reporting indicates that of the Asian DTOs operating throughout Hawaii, Chinese and Korean DTOs are concentrated in the city and county of Honolulu, Filipino organizations in Hawaii County, and Chinese organizations in Kaua'i County.

Polynesian DTOs

Polynesian DTOs (typically individuals of Samoan or Tongan ethnicity) operating in the Hawaii HIDTA region transport and distribute wholesale and retail quantities of cocaine (which they generally convert to crack) and ice methamphetamine that they obtain from sources in California and Mexico. These organizations also produce wholesale quantities of marijuana and distribute the drug at both the wholesale and retail levels in Hawaii.

Local DTOs

Local DTOs are the primary retail distributors of drugs and the primary producers of marijuana in Hawaii. These organizations typically consist of 5 to 50 individuals of mixed ethnic and racial makeup--typically, but not limited to, those of native Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Hispanic, and Caucasian descent--who were born and raised in Hawaii and share either familial or close social ties. The diversity and variability of these organizations make them difficult for law enforcement officials to infiltrate and facilitate working relationships among them and other traffickers, including international DTOs (Asian, Mexican, and Polynesian) upon which they rely for supplies of ice methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

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