National Drug Intelligence Center
Strong and long-established drug markets in the Central Valley HIDTA region contribute to high levels of drug abuse. Of particular concern is the level of methamphetamine abuse in the region, which greatly surpasses that for all other drugs of abuse, despite the wide availability of many other illicit drugs. California Alcohol and Drug Data System (CADDS) 2008 data show that methamphetamine accounts for the majority of drug treatment admissions in the counties that compose the Central Valley HIDTA, followed by heroin, marijuana, and cocaine/crack. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. Central Valley California HIDTA Drug Treatment Admissions, 2003-2007
Source: California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, Office of Applied Research and Analysis.
Mexican DTOs use bulk cash smuggling as their primary means of returning drug proceeds generated in the Central Valley HIDTA to source areas in Mexico. Mexican DTOs regularly transport proceeds from wholesale drug transactions in other regions of the United States to the HIDTA region, where they often are combined with proceeds generated from wholesale transactions in the region. The bulk cash is then transported back to Mexico for repatriation.3 Asian DTOs also consolidate drug proceeds in the region, which are then transported in bulk or by wire to Canada or Asia.
3. Each year Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers operating in the United States bulk-smuggle billions of U.S. dollars into Mexico. The return of these dollars to their country of origin (the United States)--known as repatriation--is often an important part of the money laundering process for these traffickers. Repatriation of these funds is beneficial to Mexican and Colombian traffickers because it simplifies the placement of funds into the U.S. financial system.
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