Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
Mexican DTOs are the primary wholesale distributors of powder cocaine, Mexican marijuana, and ice methamphetamine. Some Mexican DTOs in urban areas also distribute these drugs at the retail level in addition to crack cocaine and Mexican black tar heroin. Caucasian DTOs are the principal distributors of locally produced marijuana; they also distribute Mexican marijuana, powder methamphetamine, powder cocaine, diverted pharmaceuticals and, to varying degrees, Mexican black tar heroin. African American DTOs typically distribute powder and crack cocaine, Mexican black tar heroin, and locally produced marijuana at the retail level. Members of street gangs and OMGs serve as retail-level distributors of most illicit drugs available in the region. Retail distribution typically takes place at open-air drug markets, private homes and businesses, and housing projects throughout the region, as well as in prearranged meeting areas such as parking lots; however, most retail distribution in Kentucky takes place in homes and businesses.
Drug-related crime statistics are not consistently tracked and recorded by law enforcement officials in the HIDTA region. However, drug-related violence poses a serious threat to law enforcement and the citizenry of the Appalachia HIDTA, particularly in its West Virginia counties. The violent, drug-related crime includes assaults, robberies, home invasions, and shootings. Law enforcement officials in West Virginia report rising levels of violence in Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Gilmer, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, McDowell, and Wayne Counties as traffickers, particularly crack dealers, compete for drug territory. According to data from the NDIC National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2006, 16 of the 34 state and local law enforcement agencies in the Appalachia HIDTA that responded to the NDTS 2006 report crack as the drug that most contributes to violent crime in their jurisdictions.