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National Drug Intelligence Center
Kansas Drug Threat Assessment
Cocaine, particularly crack, poses a significant drug threat to Kansas largely because of crack's highly addictive nature and association with violent crime. Crack cocaine is available primarily in metropolitan areas, and powdered cocaine is available throughout the state. Mexican criminal groups transport powdered cocaine into Kansas from Mexico through California and southwestern states primarily in private and commercial vehicles. These groups also dominate wholesale cocaine distribution throughout the state. Mexican criminal groups, local independent dealers, and street gangs distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level. Retail distributors in Kansas typically convert powdered cocaine into crack on an as-needed basis at or near distribution sites. However, some African American street gangs transport crack cocaine into Kansas from metropolitan areas in surrounding states. African American street gangs and local independent dealers distribute crack cocaine at the retail level. Retail distribution of cocaine commonly is facilitated by pagers, pay phones, and cellular telephones. Retail quantities are distributed on street corners, at bars, and from residences. Crack cocaine distributors and abusers in Kansas commit a wide range of violent crimes, including assault, carjacking, and drive-by shooting.
Law enforcement officials in Kansas report that cocaine abuse is common in the state. Respondents to the NDTS 2002 in Liberal, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita and in Miami, Reno, and Sedgwick Counties reported that rates of powdered and crack cocaine abuse in their jurisdictions were high. Law enforcement officials in Olathe, a few miles southwest of Kansas City, and in Douglas, Montgomery, and Shawnee Counties reported that rates of crack abuse were high and that rates of powdered cocaine abuse were moderate. The percentage of Kansas residents who report having abused cocaine in the past year is statistically comparable to the percentage nationwide. According to the 1999-2000 NHSDA, 1.5 percent of Kansas residents reported having abused cocaine in the year prior to the survey compared with 1.6 percent of individuals nationwide.
Cocaine-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in Kansas increased somewhat from 2,189 in 1997 to 2,279 in 2001, according to TEDS. Cocaine abuse accounted for more admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities in Kansas in 2001 than any other illicit drug except marijuana. (See Table 1 in Overview section.) From 1997 through 2001 admissions for smoked cocaine (crack) significantly outnumbered admissions for cocaine administered via another route. In 2001, 1,866 (82%) admissions were smoked cocaine-related. Data from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services indicate that there were 2,307 treatment admissions for cocaine abuse in SFY2001. (Disparities between federal and state reporting on admissions to substance abuse treatment programs occur because of differences in data collection and reporting methodologies.)
Cocaine, particularly crack, is readily available in urban population centers, medium-size cities, and a few smaller towns in Kansas. Law enforcement respondents to the NDTS 2002 in Abilene, Kansas City, Liberal, Salina, Topeka, and Wichita and in Reno County reported that crack cocaine and powdered cocaine were readily available in their jurisdictions. Law enforcement officials in Junction City and Olathe and in Douglas, Montgomery, and Riley Counties reported that crack cocaine was readily available and powdered cocaine was moderately available.
Seizure data reflect the ready availability of cocaine in Kansas. According to FDSS, federal law enforcement officials in Kansas seized 27.7 kilograms of cocaine in 1998, 194.4 kilograms in 1999, 139.6 kilograms in 2000, and 305.4 kilograms in 2001. Law enforcement officials reporting to Operation Pipeline seized more than 900 kilograms of cocaine on Kansas highways in 1999 and over 160 kilograms in FY2000. KHP seized over 168 kilograms of powdered cocaine in 2000 and over 77 kilograms in 2001. KHP seized more than 113 grams of crack cocaine in 2000 and slightly more than 195 grams in 2001.
In FY2001 the percentage of drug-related federal sentences that were cocaine-related in Kansas was comparable to the national percentage. According to USSC, in FY2001 almost 38 percent (17.1% powdered and 20.8% crack) of drug-related federal sentences in Kansas resulted from cocaine violations compared with almost 43 percent (22.1% powdered and 20.4% crack) nationwide. The percentage of crack cocaine-related federal sentences in Kansas was higher than the national percentage each year from FY1997 through FY2001. (See Table 2 in Methamphetamine section.) The number of crack cocaine-related sentences increased from 25 in FY1997 to 45 in FY2001, and the number of powdered cocaine-related sentences increased from 26 in FY1997 to 37 in FY2001. In addition, from October 1998 to May 2001, 9 of the 17 OCDETF investigations initiated in Kansas were cocaine-related.
The price of powdered cocaine varies widely across the state, according to reporting from federal and local law enforcement officials. Prices for powdered cocaine ranged from $15,000 to $20,000 per kilogram and $600 to $2,800 per ounce throughout the state. In 2002 in Wichita powdered cocaine sold for $800 to $1,200 per ounce, according to DEA. According to local law enforcement officials, powdered cocaine sells for $60 per gram in Dodge City and $80 to $90 per gram in Wichita. According to DEA, purity levels of powdered cocaine seized in the state ranged from 70 to 90 percent in 2000.
Crack cocaine prices also vary throughout the state. The Kansas City Police Department reports that crack cocaine sells for $800 to $1,000 per ounce. In 2002 crack cocaine sold for $800 to $1,200 per ounce in Wichita, according to DEA. According to local law enforcement officials, crack cocaine throughout the state sells for $20 to $50 per rock, depending on the size. In Garden City a rock weighing less than one-quarter gram sells for $20 to $30, and in Pittsburg a rock weighing one-tenth to two-tenths gram sells for $20.
Crack cocaine is the drug most often associated with violent crime in Kansas, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods and housing projects. Crack abusers often commit violent crimes to support their addictions, and crack distributors commonly commit violent crimes to protect their drug operations. Street gangs that distribute crack cocaine commit assault, carjacking, drive-by shooting, home invasion, robbery, and firearms violations. Respondents to the NDIC National Gang Survey 2000 reported that street gangs in Kansas that distribute cocaine also commit violent crimes. These gangs include Florencia 13, South Dale Bloods, and Spanish Disciples in Kansas City; School Yard Crips in Lawrence; 301 Posse, Aryan Brotherhood, Eastside Crips, Hilltop Crips, Latin Kings, Northside Bloods, One G Posse, Swan Bloods, Vice Lords, and Westside Players in Leavenworth; Gangster Disciples in Overland Park; and Bloods, East Side Vatos Locos, Folks, Four Corner Hustlers, Gangster Disciples, Sureņos 13, and Vice Lords in Topeka.
Coca is not cultivated nor is cocaine produced in Kansas. The drug is produced in South America, primarily Colombia. However, retail distributors in Kansas commonly convert powdered cocaine into crack on an as-needed basis in an attempt to avoid federal penalties that are harsher for the possession of crack than for the possession of powdered cocaine. Conversion commonly occurs near distribution areas and often in stash houses or in the homes of local independent dealers and street gang members.
Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine. They generally smuggle the drug from Mexico through California and southwestern states into Kansas. Mexican criminal groups transport powdered cocaine from Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City to Wichita, which serves as a distribution center for powdered cocaine destined for Kansas City and Omaha. Mexican criminal groups also transport wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine from Chihuahua, Mexico, through El Paso or McAllen, Texas, to Kansas City. In addition, powdered cocaine is transported from Mexico to Liberal via the Texas cities of Amarillo, Midland, and Odessa.
Cocaine typically is transported into Kansas via Interstates 35 and 70 and US 54 in private or commercial vehicles equipped with hidden compartments; couriers aboard commercial buses are used to a lesser extent. Transporters also intermingle cocaine with legitimate goods or conceal the drug in luggage in private vehicles and on buses. In addition, some Mexican criminal groups transport kilogram quantities of powdered cocaine to Kansas City in tractor-trailers often concealing the drug in steel containers in the tires.
Powdered cocaine destined for other states often is transported through Kansas. Law enforcement authorities in Kansas have seized powdered cocaine destined for Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. In January 2002 Olathe Police Department officers seized 120 kilograms of powdered cocaine from a private vehicle on I-35. The cocaine was being transported from El Paso to Rockford, Illinois. In May 2001 Thomas County law enforcement authorities seized 15 kilograms of powdered cocaine from a Caucasian man in a private vehicle on I-70 en route from San Diego to Washington, D.C. In March 2001 Salina law enforcement authorities seized 200 kilograms of powdered cocaine from a pickup truck en route from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Although most of the crack cocaine available in Kansas is converted locally to avoid the stricter penalties associated with crack possession, street gangs and local independent dealers transport some crack cocaine from neighboring states into Kansas. Rolling 30s Crips members transport crack cocaine from Denver to Manhattan. According to the Pittsburg Police Department, African American local independent dealers transport crack from Coffeyville and Kansas City to Pittsburg.
Mexican criminal groups are the primary wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine throughout Kansas. These groups supply wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine to retail distributors including other Mexican criminal groups, African American street gangs, and local independent dealers. Law enforcement authorities in Dodge City, Garden City, Kansas City, Liberal, Newton, Olathe, and Topeka identified Mexican criminal groups as wholesale distributors of powdered cocaine in their jurisdictions.
The major cities in Kansas--Dodge City, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita--are located along highways and serve as distribution centers for cocaine destined for other areas of Kansas and neighboring states. Wichita serves as a cocaine distribution center for Kansas City and Omaha. Kansas City is a cocaine distribution city for smaller towns in northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska. Dodge City is a regional cocaine distribution city for the smaller southwestern Kansas towns of Bucklin, Cimarron, and Kinsley.
Mexican criminal groups, street gangs, and local independent dealers distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level. Barton County and Franklin County law enforcement authorities report that Mexican criminal groups distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level in their jurisdictions. Local independent dealers and street gangs also distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level in Kansas. Dodge City law enforcement officials report that Las Carnales Chingones, 18th Street, Diablos Viejos, and Lomas (Hispanic street gangs) and the Asian Boyz and Dead Everlasting Gangsters (Asian street gangs) distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level in their area. Master Criminal Boyz, a street gang composed of Hispanic and Caucasian members, also distributes powdered cocaine at the retail level in Dodge City. Vatos Locos, composed of Hispanic and Caucasian members, and 805 Piru Bloods, an African American street gang, distribute powdered cocaine at the retail level in Newton. Moreover, members of Dead Everlasting Gangsters distribute retail quantities of powdered cocaine in Wichita. Retail-level cocaine transactions commonly are prearranged or made using pagers, pay phones, and cellular telephones, and they typically take place on street corners, at bars, or in residences.
Kansas-based African American street gangs and African American local independent dealers are the primary retail distributors of crack cocaine in the state, particularly in Dodge City, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita. Street gangs that distribute crack at the retail level in Kansas include Playing For Keeps (composed of African Americans and Caucasians) and Diablos Viejos in Dodge City and Inglewood Family Gangster Bloods in Kansas City. In Topeka members of Gangster Disciples, Sureņos 13, and Vice Lords distribute crack; in Wichita members of Dead Everlasting Gangsters, Junior Boys, and Neighborhood Crips are crack distributors. Many of these street gangs acquire powdered cocaine to convert to crack from Mexican criminal groups who sell the gangs higher purity cocaine than they sell to cocaine abusers.
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