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Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis 2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2009
30 pages
This 2009 overview of the illicit drug situation in the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) highlights significant trends and law enforcement concerns related to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.
The Houston HIDTA includes 16 counties along the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Texas, and is a key distribution and transshipment area for illicit drugs supplied to the drug markets in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast. It is also a consolidation area for the smuggling of illicit drug proceeds into Mexico. Houston is the principal drug market area in the HIDTA region, with smaller markets located in Beaumont-Port Arthur and Corpus Christi. The Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) that operate here are the predominant traffickers in the region and exploit the geography and economy of Houston, utilizing the sparsely populated ranch land to the south of the city to move drugs and taking advantage of the well-developed economic and financial structures in the cities to launder illicit drug proceeds. The assessment found that the amount of cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine seized in the Houston HIDTA has decreased over the past 3 years, partly due to increased seizures by Mexican law enforcement, increased seizures in South Texas counties that border Mexico, and drug traffickers' use of alternative drug smuggling routes. The number of methamphetamine lab seizures in the Houston HIDTA region continued to decrease in 2008. This decrease can be attributed to successful chemical control legislation in Texas and improved law enforcement programs. The assessment also noted that indoor cannabis cultivation poses an increasing threat to the Houston HIDTA region, most significantly in Houston and Corpus Christi. It was also found that Houston has become the primary source city in the United States for traceable guns seized in Mexico. Figures, tables, and list of sources