National Drug Intelligence Center
The Arizona HIDTA region's position as the principal U.S. arrival zone for Mexican marijuana will persist. Mexican DTOs active in the HIDTA region maintain large-scale cannabis grow sites in Mexico and have direct connections to organizations in Mexico that provide a ready supply of marijuana. Such production capabilities and connections ensure that the flow of Mexican marijuana will continue, despite law enforcement seizures of large quantities of marijuana in the United States and Mexico.
Heroin smuggling through the Arizona HIDTA region may increase in the near term because of a number of factors. Traffickers will continue to alter their transportation routes away from the traditional heroin smuggling corridor in Baja California because of the violence that will likely persist among DTOs competing for control of that route. Increased heroin seizures in the region may also be affected by increased availability of the drug, occasioned by decreased aerial eradication of opium poppy plantations in Mexico. Moreover, counterdrug operations in Mexico and other foreign countries have not been as effective against heroin trafficking networks, which typically are dispersed and fragmented.
The availability of cocaine and methamphetamine in the Arizona HIDTA region may remain below previous levels for the near term. Continuing law enforcement pressure on Mexican DTOs in both the United States and Mexico will very likely force Mexican DTOs to alter their cocaine and methamphetamine smuggling operations in the region. Additionally, enhanced import and chemical control restrictions in Mexico will not likely continue to hinder the production of methamphetamine as DTOs find alternative precursor sources or alternative production methods.
Mexican DTOs will adapt drug smuggling methods into the Arizona HIDTA region both at and between POEs in an effort to thwart law enforcement. For example, Mexican DTOs will likely increase their use of subterranean tunnels, small aircraft, cloned vehicles, more innovative concealment methods, and alternate smuggling routes in an effort to circumvent law enforcement and military operations against them.
End of page.