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NDIC seal linked to Home page. National Drug Intelligence Center
Connecticut Drug Threat Assessment Update
July 2003


Cocaine, both powdered and crack, poses a significant drug threat to Connecticut. Of the 47 law enforcement respondents to the NDTS 2002 in Connecticut, 13 reported that powdered cocaine was a high threat in their jurisdictions, and 28 reported that crack cocaine was a high threat in their jurisdictions. According to TEDS data, cocaine-related treatment admissions to publicly funded treatment facilities in the state decreased from 6,324 in 1999 to 5,573 in 2001. (See Table 1 in Heroin section.) Despite this decrease, the number of cocaine-related treatment admissions remained higher than the number of treatment admissions for any other illicit drug except heroin. In addition, cocaine has been a factor in a significant number of deaths in Connecticut. Data from the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner indicate that cocaine was a factor in 75 of the 451 deaths involving drugs in 2001. The percentage of Connecticut residents aged 12 and older who reported having abused cocaine at least once in the past year (1.5%) was comparable to the percentage nationwide (1.6%), according to combined data from the 1999 and the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA).

Cocaine is readily available throughout Connecticut. According to FDSS data, federal law enforcement officials in Connecticut seized 31.7 kilograms of cocaine in 2002. USSC data indicate that the percentage of drug-related federal sentences that were cocaine-related in Connecticut (59.3%) was higher than the national percentage (42.5%) in FY2001. Crack cocaine accounted for nearly twice as many federal sentences as powdered cocaine in the state in FY2001. (See Table 2 in Heroin section.) Powdered cocaine available in the state sold for $20,000 to $30,000 per kilogram, $600 to $1,100 per ounce, and $50 to $90 per gram in the first quarter of FY2003, according to the DEA Boston Division. Crack sold for $650 to $1,300 per ounce, $10 to $50 per vial, and $10 to $20 per rock during the same period. Purity levels for powdered and crack cocaine vary widely throughout the state. (See Table 4.)

Table 4. Cocaine Prices and Purity Levels, Connecticut, First Quarter FY2003
  Bridgeport Hartford New Haven
Powdered Price  Purity Price  Purity Price  Purity
Kilogram $22,000-
85% $26,000 NA $20,000-
Ounce $800-
13-87% $600-
30-50% $700-
Gram $50-$90 13-87% $50-$60 30-50% $50 30
  Bridgeport Hartford New Haven


Price  Purity Price  Purity Price  Purity
Ounce $800-
35-90% $650-
NA $1,000-
Vial $20-$50 35-90% $10-$20 NA NA NA
Rock $10-$20 35-90% $10 NA $10-$20 40-60%

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration Boston Division.

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Dominican and Colombian criminal groups are the primary transporters of cocaine into Connecticut. African American, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic criminal groups, local crews, as well as local independent dealers of various ethnic backgrounds also transport cocaine into the state, although to a lesser extent. Cocaine available in the state primarily is obtained from Dominican and Colombian criminal groups in New York City and transported via private and commercial vehicles along I-84, I-91, and I-95. Package delivery services as well as couriers aboard buses, passenger rail, and commercial aircraft are used to transport cocaine into Connecticut, albeit to a lesser extent.

Dominican and Colombian criminal groups are the primary wholesale-level distributors of powdered cocaine in Connecticut. African American, Caucasian, Jamaican, and Puerto Rican criminal groups also distribute wholesale quantities of powdered cocaine, to a lesser extent. Dominican criminal groups are the primary retail-level distributors of powdered cocaine in Connecticut, while African American criminal groups and crews are the primary retail-level distributors of crack. Jamaican and other Hispanic criminal groups and crews as well as local independent dealers of various ethnic backgrounds also distribute retail quantities of powdered and crack cocaine in the state. Cocaine primarily is distributed from private vehicles at public parking areas such as malls, restaurants, and shopping centers. Cocaine is less frequently distributed from bars and private residences. Cocaine seldom is distributed at open-air drug markets because of law enforcement pressure. Powdered and crack cocaine sold at the retail level often is packaged in plastic bags with the ends tied into knots. Crack cocaine occasionally is packaged and sold in glass or plastic vials.

Dominican Cocaine Distribution Group Members Arrested

In April 2003 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and state and local law enforcement officials raided six apartments in Windham and arrested six members of a Dominican cocaine distribution group. Group members purchased 1 to 2 kilograms of cocaine per week from two Dominican sources of supply, one in New York City and the other in Rhode Island, for distribution in Connecticut. Once the cocaine was transported to Connecticut, group members would repackage the drug in one-half-gram plastic bags and sell the bags from local bars for $40 each. In addition to making the arrests, law enforcement officials seized 5 kilograms of powdered cocaine, nearly $94,000 in U.S. currency, four private vehicles equipped with hidden compartments, and four handguns.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Meriden Resident Agency.

Cocaine, particularly crack, is the drug most often associated with violent crime in Connecticut. According to law enforcement officials, retail-level crack distributors in urban areas often commit violent acts to protect turf.


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