U.S. Department of Justice
National Drug Intelligence Center
Gulf Coast HIDTA Drug Market Analysis 2010
The Gulf Coast HIDTA region, encompassing 25 counties and parishes throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, is the primary transportation corridor for illicit drugs from the Southwest Border area and Mexico destined for eastern drug markets, particularly Atlanta, Georgia. (See Figure 1.) Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) transport illicit drugs and illicit drug proceeds over the interstate highways that intersect the region, primarily using private vehicles modified with hidden compartments, rental cars, and commercial tractor-trailers. Mexican DTOs are the principal wholesale and midlevel distributors of powder cocaine, ice methamphetamine, commercial-grade marijuana, and Mexican brown powder heroin and black tar heroin in the Gulf Coast HIDTA region. They supply these drugs to most other midlevel and retail-level distributors in the region, particularly African American and Hispanic traffickers.
1. Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
The coastal areas of the Gulf Coast HIDTA region were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, causing extensive physical destruction that is still under repair. The hardest-hit areas lie between Biloxi, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana. The rebuilding effort has caused a significant influx of both legal and illegal Mexican immigrants who came to the area in search of work. As a result, the region has a growing Hispanic population that has enabled Mexican drug traffickers to assimilate within Hispanic communities and conceal their drug trafficking activities. Caucasians are the largest racial demographic group in the region, followed by African Americans.
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