National Drug Intelligence Center
Drug flow into the HIDTA region may decrease in the near term. The presence of law enforcement and military personnel in Tamaulipas as well as in other source areas in Mexico may cause DTOs to reroute drug shipments through other areas along the Southwest Border. Additionally, increased Mexican law enforcement presence in the area quite likely will lead to more seizures of drug shipments destined for the HIDTA region.
The HIDTA region will most likely experience a decrease in the flow of methamphetamine in the near term as a result of precursor regulations and counterdrug operations in Mexico. Enhanced import and chemical control restrictions will go into effect in Mexico during 2008 and 2009; these restrictions will most likely curtail methamphetamine production in Mexico. Additionally, the Mexican Government is likely to conduct additional counterdrug operations that will impede methamphetamine smuggling operations.
The diversion and distribution of pharmaceutical drugs from the HIDTA region will increase as long as traffickers are able to obtain the drugs through current diversion methods. The increasing number of pain clinics in the Houston HIDTA region, continued smuggling of the drugs from Mexico, Internet pharmacies, lack of regulatory oversight of medical professionals, increased availability of generic drugs that can be sold for higher profits, and increasing pharmacy burglaries will quite likely contribute to increased diversion. Increased oversight of Schedule III, IV, and V drugs in Texas is likely to curtail some pharmaceutical diversion and distribution using doctor-shopping, visiting corrupt pain clinics, obtaining prescriptions from unscrupulous physicians, and forging prescriptions. However, traffickers may increasingly use other diversion methods, such as purchasing pharmaceuticals on the Internet, stealing from pharmacies, and smuggling the drugs from Mexico, which will not be directly affected by enhanced regulations.
Marijuana production in the Houston HIDTA region will most likely increase in response to the growing demand for higher-potency marijuana in Texas and the United States and because of the high profit margin associated with the drug. Anecdotal reporting indicates that marijuana users are demonstrating a preference for higher-potency marijuana. The user preference trending toward higher-potency marijuana is readily apparent in the Southwest Region of the country. Producers of higher-potency marijuana will most likely take advantage of this trend by establishing increasing numbers of indoor cannabis grow operations in the HIDTA region.
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