Sunday, November 22, 2015

DEA-DOJ Drug Threat Assessment 2015


Map of Mexican Cartels areas of influence or conflict-Click any image to enlarge
DEA and the  Department of Justice, released its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, see below embedded in its entirety (148 pages).

In its report, the NDTAS states that Baja California and its border continues to traffic the most drugs coming into and being transported throughout the U.S. and by the Sinaloa Cartel (CDS) led by Joaquin "El Chapo” Guzman. 

On the Pacific Coast, up through the northwest with nexus into Canada, heroin and meth make up the greatest drug threat.

Listed in the report are cartels of Mexico, Colombia, Dominican and Asia, with a listing of drugs of abuse.  This extensive report addresses most  areas of interest pertaining to cartel activity in the U.S.


Interesting read;  is the trafficking activities plus U.S. locations of activity and operational structure of cartels. (other than Mexican cartels).  Beginning  on page 4 of the report.


Cities Highlighted (Pages 3-4):

Mexican TCOs pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their presence in the United States, particularly in heroin markets.

• Boston, Massachusetts: Many of the local distribution groups are increasingly dealing with and receiving cocaine directly from Mexican organizations based in states such as Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

• Chicago, Illinois: Mexican TCOs pose the most significant threat. During 2014, Mexican organizations continued to dominate the wholesale distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, Mexico-produced marijuana, and heroin (both Mexican black tar and South American heroin) in Chicago.
• Los Angeles, California: Mexican TCOs use the Los Angeles area as a strategic hub to facilitate the movement of drugs north and west, while also using Los Angeles for the subsequent smuggling of drug proceeds in the form of bulk cash back to Mexico

• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Mexican TCOs are showing increasing interest in establishing distribution hubs in northeastern US cities such as Philadelphia. Intelligence indicates these TCOs may wish to bypass traditional hubs in the southeastern United States due to law enforcement pressure.

The CJNG (CJNG leadership had not been designated as a CPOT as of November 2014, therefore it is not depicted on this map) is quickly becoming one of the most powerful TCOs in Mexico and in some cases rivals Sinaloa Cartel trafficking operations in Asia, Europe, and Oceania. The CJNG by virtue of its growing power continues to expand its trafficking operations to the United States, with law enforcement increasingly reporting CJNG members and associates as sources of supply for drugs in the United States. Los Cuinis, an affiliate group of CJNG, provided the initial funding to facilitate the rise of CJNG. (Pages 2-3)


The United States cartel operational drug map shown in this fall report,  is the same Borderland Beat published months ago and is  from the DEA report of last spring.  

Mexican Cartels operating in the U.S.

In 2014, based on active law enforcement cases, the following major Mexican TCOs are operating in the United States: the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) the Los Cuinis, Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG), Juarez Cartel, Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM), Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT), Los Zetas, and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Trafficking Methods

Mexican TCOs transport the bulk of their drugs over the Southwest Border through ports of entry (POEs) using passenger vehicles or tractor trailers. The drugs are typically secreted in hidden compartments when transported in passenger vehicles or comingled with legitimate goods when transported in tractor trailers. Once across the Southwest Border, the drugs are transported to stash houses in hub cities such as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, and then transported via these same conveyances to distribution groups in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

Mexican TCOs also smuggle drugs across the Southwest Border using other methods. Marijuana is occasionally trafficked through subterranean tunnels connected to a network of safe houses on both the Mexico and the US sides of the border. Mexican TCOs also transport marijuana via commercial cargo trains and on small boats, often referred to as “pangas,” from the West Coast of Baja California north to the central California coast. Finally, Mexican TCOs have also transported drugs across the Southwest Border using ultralight aircraft.

Mexican Traffickers Moving Into Suburban and Rural Areas
Law enforcement reporting indicates some Mexican trafficking organizations within the United States are relocating from major metropolitan areas to establish bases of operation in suburban or rural areas. Traffickers are relocating because they feel they can better conceal their operations in an area where law enforcement does not expect to find large trafficking organizations operating or are not accustomed to dealing with such organizations. The relocation also makes it difficult for large federal law enforcement agencies to target these organizations because the traffickers are removed from the federal agencies’ bases of operation in large cities. This trend has been noted by law, enforcement in Dallas, San Francisco, eastern Washington State, western Colorado, and parts of North Carolina.

Interesting read is the trafficking activities plus U.S. locations of activity and operational structure of cartels. (other than Mexican cartels).  Beginning  on page 4 of the report.

Executive summary:  

The 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA) is a comprehensive assessment of the threat posed to the United States by the tracking and use of illicit drugs. The drug section of this report is arranged in ranking order based on the level of threat each drug presents. The threat level for each drug is determined by strategic analysis of the domestic drug situation during 2014, based on law enforcement, intelligence, and public health data available for the period. For instance, each day in the United States, over 120 people die as a result of a drug overdose. 

Above: Cartels and related gangs
In particular, the number of deaths attributable to controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) has outpaced those for cocaine and heroin combined. Additionally, some opioid CPD abusers are initiating heroin use, which contributes to the increased demand for and use of heroin. For these reasons, CPDs and heroin are ranked as the most significant drug threats to the United States. Fentanyl and its analogs are responsible for more than 700 deaths across the United States between late 2013 and late 2014. While fentanyl is often abused in the same manner as heroin, it is much more potent. Methamphetamine distribution and abuse significantly contribute to violent and property crime rates in the United States. Further, cocaine distributors and users seek out methamphetamine as an alternative as cocaine availability levels decline. 

While marijuana is the most widely available and commonly used illicit drug and remains illegal under federal law, many states have passed legislation approving the cultivation, possession, and use of the drug within their respective states. Marijuana concentrates, with potency levels far exceeding those of leaf marijuana, pose an issue of growing concern. Finally, the threat posed by synthetic designer drugs continues to impact many segments of the American population, particularly youth. A full discussion for each of these drugs cannot be undertaken without first examining the criminal groups that supply these substances to distributors and users in the United States.

Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group can challenge them in the near term. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their share of US illicit drug markets, particularly heroin markets. National-level gangs and neighborhood gangs continue to form relationships with Mexican TCOs to increase profits for the gangs through drug distribution and transportation, for the enforcement of drug payments, and for protection of drug transportation corridors from use by rival gangs. 

Many gangs rely on Mexican TCOs as their primary drug source of supply, and Mexican TCOs depend on street-level gangs, many of which already have a customer base, for drug distribution.

Drug overdose deaths have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Each day in the United States, over 120 people die as a result of a drug overdose. The number of drug poisoning deaths in 2013, the latest year for which data is available, involving opioid analgesics (16,235) is substantial and outpaces the number of deaths for cocaine and heroin combined (13,201). While recent data suggest that abuse of these drugs has lessened in some areas, the number of individuals reporting current abuse of CPDs is more than those reporting use of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and phencyclidine (PCP) combined. With the slightly declining abuse levels of CPDs, data indicate there is a corresponding increase in heroin use. Some opioid CPD abusers begin using heroin as a cheaper alternative to the high price of illicit CPDs or when they are unable to obtain prescription drugs.

The threat posed by heroin in the United States is serious and has increased since 2007. Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths. Increased demand for, and use of, heroin is being driven by both increasing availability of heroin in the US market and by some opioid CPD abusers using heroin. CPD abusers who begin using heroin do so chiefly because of price differences, but also because of availability, and the reformulation of OxyContin®, a commonly abused prescription opioid.

Refer to embedded document for the complete report:

Table of contents: 
click to enlarge


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