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Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area: Drug Market Analysis 2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2009
20 pages
This 2009 overview of the illicit drug situation in the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) highlights significant trends and law enforcement concerns related to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.
The Lake County HIDTA region consists of Lake County, located adjacent to the Chicago metropolitan area in northwestern Indiana. The northern part of the county includes the three largest cities - Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago, all which have relatively high crime rates, low median household incomes, and declining urban environments. On the other hand, the southern part of Lake County and neighboring Porter County contain affluent cities and rural communities with lower crime rates, higher median household incomes, and more development. Several highways intersect Lake County and are frequently used by drug traffickers to smuggle illicit drugs into and through the region from Chicago and directly from Mexico through the Southwest Border. The assessment found that as a result of the depressed economy, the use of marijuana has increased due to its easy access and low cost. In addition, dealers in Hammond are selling crack cocaine in smaller, more affordable packages. Law enforcement found that wholesale prices of cocaine increased in the second half of 2008, indicating a possible decrease in the wholesale availability of the drug, while retail-level availability and prices remained stable during that time. Law enforcement officials also report an increase in the production and availability of and demand for high-potency marijuana. Officials also report an expansion of operations by Chicago-based drug trafficking groups into Lake County, with Mexican drug trafficking organizations and Chicago street gangs improving their transportation and distribution networks in the Lake County HIDTA region. Figures and list of sources