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California Border Alliance Group Drug Market Analysis
June 2007

Strategic Drug Threat Developments

  • Mexican ice methamphetamine is more readily available in the CBAG region than domestically produced powder methamphetamine, largely as a result of precursor chemical control laws in California and increased production of ice methamphetamine in Mexico. According to U.S. Border Patrol data, methamphetamine seizures in the San Diego and El Centro Sectors increased 94 percent from 2005 through 2006. (See Table 3.) Additionally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that methamphetamine seizures at the San Diego and El Centro ports of entry (POEs) increased 55 percent from 2005 through 2006. (See Table 2.)1

  • Marijuana production has increased in the CBAG region as a result of rising demand for higher-potency marijuana, both regionally and nationally. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are fueling a large percentage of this increase, producing marijuana with higher THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) levels than they have in the past.

  • Violence among Mexican DTOs for control of lucrative drug smuggling corridors along the California-Mexico border endangers law enforcement and innocent citizens.

  • The use of subterranean tunnels by Mexican DTOs to smuggle illicit drugs into the United States is increasing in the CBAG region.

Drug Trafficking Organizations, Criminal Groups, and Gangs

Drug trafficking organizations are complex organizations with highly defined command-and-control structures that produce, transport, and/or distribute large quantities of one or more illicit drugs.

Criminal groups operating in the United States are numerous and range from small to moderately sized, loosely knit groups that distribute one or more drugs at the retail and midlevels.

Gangs are defined by the National Alliance of Gang Investigators' Associations as groups or associations of three or more persons with a common identifying sign, symbol, or name, the members of which individually or collectively engage in criminal activity that creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

End Note

1. U.S. Border Patrol Sector drug seizures refer to the amount of illicit drugs seized between ports of entry (POEs), including at fixed and roving checkpoints, in sectors as reported by the Office of Border Patrol within U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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