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Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area: Drug Market Analysis 2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2009
22 pages
This 2009 overview of the illicit drug situation in the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) highlights significant trends and law enforcement concerns related to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.
The Los Angeles HIDTA region consists of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. It is one of the most populous regions in the country with over 17 million residents and 32,000 square miles of land, and is a principal production, transportation, and distribution centers for illicit drugs in the HIDTA region and other major metropolitan areas including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, New York City, Omaha, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Tulsa, and Washington, DC. The large geographic area of San Bernardino County makes detection of methamphetamine labs and cannabis fields difficult. In addition, the area's climate makes it ideal for the robust production of cannabis. Officials have found an increase in the indoor production of high-quality cannabis by Asian drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and criminal groups. Most of the regions crack cocaine and PCP is produced in the inner-city neighborhoods. The region's highly developed interstate highway system has enabled Mexican DTOs and criminal groups, the principal transporters of illicit drugs, to maintain the flow of multihundred-kilogram quantities of marijuana, ice methamphetamine, cocaine, Mexican black tar and brown powder heroin, and ecstasy (MDMA) through the region. Assessments by law enforcement officials in the region found that seizures for methamphetamine, marijuana, powder cocaine, and heroin increased in 2008, resulting in wholesale price increases for all the drugs except heroin, which remained stable. Other findings include: an increase in the production of methamphetamine in 2008 as evidenced by the increase in the number of seizures of large-scale production laboratories; and an increase in outdoor cannabis cultivation in 2008, primarily by Mexican producers. Figures, tables, and list of sources