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National Drug Intelligence Center
Kansas Drug Threat Assessment
Marijuana is the most widely available and frequently abused illicit drug in Kansas. Marijuana abuse is associated with more drug-related admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities than any other illicit drug. Most of the marijuana available in the state is produced in Mexico, although some cannabis is cultivated locally. Mexican criminal groups transport marijuana into and through Kansas in private and commercial vehicles. A significant portion of the Mexico-produced marijuana seized in Kansas is destined for other states. Mexican criminal groups and, to a lesser extent, Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary wholesale marijuana distributors in Kansas. Mexican criminal groups, local independent dealers, street gangs, and OMGs also distribute marijuana at the retail level.
Law enforcement officials report that there are high levels of marijuana abuse throughout Kansas. According to responses to the NDTS 2002, of the 39 respondents who reported marijuana abuse in their jurisdictions, 32 indicated that abuse was high and 7 indicated that abuse was moderate. The percentage of Kansas residents who report having abused marijuana in the past month is lower than the percentage nationwide. According to the 1999-2000 NHSDA, 3.7 percent of Kansas residents reported having abused marijuana in the year prior to the survey compared with 4.8 percent of individuals nationwide.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in Kansas. Marijuana abuse is associated with more admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities in Kansas than any other illicit drug, and the number of marijuana-related treatment admissions has increased. According to TEDS, marijuana-related treatment admissions increased from 2,569 in 1997 to 3,477 in 2001. (See Table 1 in Overview section.) The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services reports that there were 3,331 marijuana-related treatment admissions 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.)
Marijuana, particularly commercial-grade marijuana produced in Mexico, is the most widely available illicit drug in Kansas. Marijuana produced in Kansas also is available. Of the 39 Kansas respondents to the NDTS 2002 who reported marijuana availability, 35 indicated that availability was high and 4 indicated that availability was moderate.
Seizure data reflect the ready availability of marijuana in Kansas. According to FDSS data, federal law enforcement officials in Kansas seized 1,741.3 kilograms in 1998, 3,484.8 kilograms in 1999, 5,827.6 kilograms in 2000, and 2,539.4 kilograms in 2001. Law enforcement authorities that reported to Operation Pipeline seized more than 4,900 kilograms of marijuana in 1999 and over 10,000 kilograms in 2000. KHP seized 7,566 kilograms of marijuana in 2000 and 2,884 kilograms in 2001. In 2001 the Kansas City Police Department seized 488 kilograms of marijuana. Further, from October 1998 to May 2001, 10 of the 17 OCDETF investigations initiated in Kansas were marijuana-related.
In FY2001 the percentage of drug-related federal sentences that were marijuana-related in Kansas was lower than the national percentage. According to USSC, in FY2001, 21 percent of drug-related federal sentences in Kansas resulted from marijuana-related offenses compared with 33 percent nationally. (See Table 2 in Methamphetamine section.) The number of federal sentences for marijuana violations in Kansas increased from 25 in FY1997 to 46 in FY2001.
Marijuana prices throughout Kansas vary depending on type and location. Marijuana sells for $550 per pound in Kansas City, $750 per pound in Overland Park, $800 per pound in Sedgwick County, and $1,000 per pound in Shawnee County. Retail quantities of marijuana sell for $40 to $175 per ounce depending on the area. According to the DEA St. Louis Division, Mexico-produced marijuana sold for $650 to $1,200 per pound in 2001, and locally produced marijuana sold for $750 to $2,000 per pound.
Violence has been associated with marijuana production and distribution in Kansas but to a limited extent. Domestic cannabis cultivators sometimes are armed and use booby traps to protect their cultivation sites from law enforcement authorities. Firearms occasionally are seized from cannabis growing sites in Kansas. DEA Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP) statistics indicate that law enforcement officials in Kansas seized 2 firearms in 1998, 10 in 1999, and 42 in 2000 during cannabis eradication operations. Kansas respondents to the NDIC National Gang Survey 2000 reported that many street gangs that distribute marijuana commit violent crimes such as assault, home invasion, and carjacking. These gangs include Florencia 13, South Dale Bloods, and Spanish Disciples in Kansas City; Schoolyard Crips and Somos Pocos Pero Locos 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; East Side Vatos Locos and Gangster Disciples in Overland Park; and Bloods, Crips, Eastside Vatos Locos, Four Corner Hustlers, Folks, and Sureņos 13 in Topeka.
Most of the marijuana available in Kansas is produced in Mexico; however, some cannabis also is cultivated throughout the state, primarily by local independent Caucasian growers. Law enforcement officials statewide report that outdoor cannabis cultivation is more common than indoor cultivation. Cannabis is cultivated both outdoors and indoors in Barton County and in Coffeyville, Garden City, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita.
In Kansas outdoor cannabis grow sites typically yield more cannabis than indoor sites. According to DCE/SP data, law enforcement officers in Kansas seized 48 outdoor plots containing 14,294 cannabis plants in 1999 and 39 outdoor plots containing 2,795 plants in 2000. DCE/SP reported that in 1999 indoor grow seizures at 14 sites yielded 473 plants and in 2000, 32 indoor grow operations yielded 543 plants.
Outdoor cannabis growers often conceal cannabis plants to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities. In Lyon County cultivators place small groups of cannabis plants around utility poles. In Jefferson County camouflage netting is used to conceal cannabis in remote wooded locations.
Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters of wholesale quantities of Mexico-produced marijuana into Kansas. According to law enforcement officials in Liberal, Mexican criminal groups transport marijuana into their jurisdiction from Mexico through Amarillo, Midland, and Odessa, Texas. Law enforcement officials in Thomas County report that Mexican criminal groups and local independent dealers transport marijuana to their area, particularly to Colby, from Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Tucson. Investigations in Colby also have revealed that some marijuana from Mexico destined for Kansas is routed from El Paso to Arizona then north to Denver--a distribution center for marijuana destined for Colby. Marijuana also is transported by Mexican criminal groups into Montgomery County from El Paso, Tulsa, and Wichita.
Marijuana typically is transported into Kansas in private and commercial vehicles and by couriers on buses following the same routes used to transport methamphetamine and cocaine. In December 2001 Pratt law enforcement authorities seized 65 pounds of marijuana from a private vehicle on US 54 traveling from Deming, New Mexico, to Wichita. Two similar seizures also occurred during that month.
Transporters use a variety of means to conceal marijuana during transportation. In December 2000 the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office seized 40 pounds of marijuana concealed in gift-wrapped packages in a vehicle. In September 2000 Lyon County law enforcement authorities seized more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana from a motor home. The marijuana was hidden in a false floor and in the walls of the motor home.
Kansas is a transit state for Mexico-produced marijuana destined for drug markets throughout the United States. More than 80 percent of the 10,000 kilograms of marijuana seized on Kansas highways as part of Operation Pipeline in 2000 was destined for other areas, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. In December 2001 Lenexa law enforcement officers seized 295 pounds of bricked marijuana from a pickup truck on I-35. The marijuana was being transported from Bravo, Mexico, to Muscatine, Iowa. Also in December 2001 Pratt law enforcement officials seized 285 pounds of marijuana from a recreational vehicle en route to Aurora, Illinois, on US 54. In addition, Operation Jetway reporting indicates that in 2000, law enforcement officials in Kansas City seized over 4 kilograms of marijuana from a passenger on board a bus traveling from Laredo, Texas, to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Mexican criminal groups and, to a lesser extent, Caucasian local independent dealers are the primary wholesale distributors of Mexico-produced marijuana in Kansas. Caucasian local independent dealers also are the primary wholesale distributors of marijuana produced in Kansas. Wholesale marijuana distributors supply marijuana to other Mexican criminal groups, local independent dealers, street gangs, and OMGs for retail distribution.
Mexican criminal groups, local independent dealers, street gangs, and OMGs are the principal retail distributors of locally produced and Mexico-produced marijuana in Kansas. Mexican criminal groups in Barton County and in Dodge City and Garden City, and Caucasian local independent dealers in Franklin County and in Coffeyville, Independence, Lenexa, and Overland Park distribute marijuana at the retail level. Street gangs also are involved in retail-level marijuana distribution in Kansas. In Dodge City some Asian street gangs such as Asian Boyz and Dead Everlasting Gangsters distribute marijuana at the retail level. Hispanic street gangs including Diablos Viejos and Master Criminal Boyz in Dodge City and Vatos Locos in Wichita distribute marijuana at the retail level; African American street gangs including Insane Crips, Junior Boys, and Neighborhood Crips distribute retail quantities of marijuana in Wichita. In addition, OMGs such as Hells Angels distribute marijuana at the retail level throughout Kansas. Retail quantities of marijuana typically are packaged in plastic bags or in black film canisters and are distributed from residences, parking lots, used car dealerships, or businesses such as bars and restaurants.
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