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Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area: Drug Market Analysis 2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2009
24 pages
Based on the analysis of recent law-enforcement reports, interviews with law-enforcement and public-health officials, and statistical data, this report presents an overview of the illicit drug situation in the Washington/Baltimore (W/B) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), highlighting significant trends and law enforcement concerns related to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.
The W/B HIDTA region encompasses the population centers of the Baltimore Metropolitan area, the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and the Richmond metropolitan area. Economic, demographic, and transportation factors make the W/B HIDTA region an attractive environment for drug trafficking and abuse. Economically depressed pockets of these areas contain residents who view drug trafficking as the only means of significant financial gain, and drug abuse is used as an escape from anxiety and emotional distress. The distribution and abuse of crack cocaine and heroin pose the greatest drug threats to the W/B HIDTA region; however, in the city of Baltimore, heroin abuse (primarily South American heroin) is the principal drug threat. High levels of violent and property crime linked to crack cocaine and heroin trafficking drain law enforcement resources in the W/B HIDTA region. The social and health consequences of cocaine and heroin abuse also strain social services and public health resources in the W/B HIDTA region. Marijuana is the most widely available and abused drug in the region. Mexico continues to be the primary source for commercial-grade marijuana transported into the region. Mexican traffickers who live locally or in southwestern States are responsible for much of the transportation of marijuana to, and distribution within, the HIDTA region; Jamaican groups obtain marijuana from Florida and the Caribbean. Methamphetamine is readily available in rural areas adjacent to the region, including southwestern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. 3 tables, 2 figures, 3 notes, and a list of sources for data and information included in the report