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Southeast OCDETF Region

Figure 11. Federally recognized Native American reservations within the Southeast OCDETF Region.

Map of the Southeast OCDETF Region showing federally recognized Native American reservations.

Source: Bureau of Indian Affairs; U.S. Census Bureau.

Key Findings

Southeast OCDETF Region Indian Country Fast Facts
States Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Number of Reservations 9 (Includes 1 SDAISA--Lumbee*)
Population on Reservations 14,507
Area (Square Miles) 119.13
Per Capita Income $6,729-$18,210
Poverty Level 13.9-58.9
Unemployment 5.8-26.6%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
* The Lumbee State Designated American Indian Statistical Area (SDAISA) is included in this drug assessment because of a high Native American population and the presence of criminal activity within Robeson County, North Carolina, its primary location.

Drug Threat Overview

Powder and crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and diverted pharmaceuticals are available to varying degrees on reservations in the Southeast Region; powder and crack cocaine are the most abused. Mexican drug traffickers supply retail-level distributors who operate within Native American communities. These Mexican traffickers routinely transport illicit drugs from Mexico through transshipment cities such as Atlanta (GA) to associates in the region, who ultimately supply the illicit drugs to Native American traffickers and independent dealers.

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Mexican DTOs supply wholesale quantities of illicit drugs to Native American traffickers and independent dealers on and off reservations in the region. Mexican DTOs are the most prominent trafficking organizations in terms of drug availability on reservations in the region. These organizations transport drugs through and to reservations.

Non-Native American gang members engage in drug trafficking and property crimes on reservations in the region.16 Street gangs including Bloods, Crips, El Rod Boys, Folk Nation, MS 13, and 74 Boys maintain a presence on reservations in the region. The majority of the gangs consist of 10 or more members, ranging from individuals in their early teens to adults. Most gangs present on reservations are only minimally involved with drug-related activities but do engage in a variety of other criminal activity, including property crimes (tagging, stealing, and arson), violent crimes (threats, intimidation, physical assault, and sexual assault), and weapons offenses. Gang members have also engaged in club fights and drive-by shootings on some reservations in the region.


Mexican and Native American traffickers transport illicit drugs onto and through reservations in the region. Mexican and Native American traffickers generally transport illicit drugs to reservations from nearby urban areas.


Native American traffickers and independent dealers are the predominant retail-level drug distributors on southeastern reservations. Native American and independent traffickers control retail-level drug distribution within Native American communities in the region. They distribute illicit drugs primarily at venues frequented by large numbers of people, including casinos, hotels, and parking areas.


Cocaine and marijuana are the most widely abused illicit drugs in the region; however, diverted pharmaceutical and methamphetamine treatment mentions by American Indians are increasing. Law enforcement officials throughout the region report that powder and crack cocaine are the primary drugs of abuse on reservations but that marijuana, diverted pharmaceuticals, and methamphetamine are also frequently abused. Cocaine was the drug most often reported by American Indians at the time of treatment admission in 2006 (43.1%), the latest year for which such data are available. However, cocaine-related treatment admissions declined significantly in 2006 after peaking in 2005 (see Table 14). Marijuana- and heroin-related treatment admissions also declined among Native Americans in the region during 2006. Conversely, treatment admissions for pharmaceutical drug abuse have increased steadily since 2002, particularly between 2005 and 2006. Moreover, methamphetamine-related treatment admissions among American Indians in the region have also increased but are at relatively low levels.

Table 14. Primary Illicit Drug Mentions by American Indians Seeking Treatment for Abuse in the Southeast Region, 2002-2006

Drug 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Cocaine 28.2% 27.7% 35.0% 50.2% 43.1%
Heroin 2.1% 1.7% 1.6% 2.2% 1.9%
Marijuana 41.1% 39.7% 34.5% 42.4% 39.7%
Methamphetamine 2.1% 1.7% 3.0% 5.1% 5.7%
Pharmaceuticals 7.4% 12.5% 12.9% 13.6% 21.0%

Source: Treatment Episode Data Set 2006.

Native American abusers frequently obtain diverted pharmaceuticals through fraud or theft. Pharmaceuticals, particularly Hydrocodone, OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax, are obtained by abusers through various means, including forgery, pharmacy burglary, robbery, and unscrupulous physicians.

Drug abusers frequently engage in various criminal activities to sustain their dependency. Law enforcement officials in Native American communities report that drug abusers often commit property crimes, such as burglary and theft, and other criminal offenses to acquire funds to purchase illicit drugs. For instance, male Native American drug abusers burglarize homes to steal valuable items in order to purchase drugs, while female drug abusers often engage in prostitution in order to acquire illicit drugs.

End Note

16. While many of these gangs claim affiliation with national gang structures such as Bloods and Crips, the majority are hybrid gang structures that have little or no affiliation with the national gang other than the names, symbolism, and representing style.

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