U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

West Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area: Drug Market Analysis 2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2009
22 pages
Based on recent law-enforcement reports, interviews with law-enforcement and public-health officials, and relevant statistical data, this report presents an overview of the illicit drug situation in the West Texas (WT) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), highlighting significant trends and law enforcement concerns related to the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.
The WT HIDTA region lies along a 520-mile section of the U.S.-Mexico border in Southwest Texas, encompassing 12 counties. This HIDTA region is used by Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) as a principal smuggling corridor and staging area for drug transportation to markets throughout the United States. The smuggling and trans-shipment of multitons of marijuana and multikilogram quantities of powder cocaine are the principal drug threats in the WT HIDTA region. Heroin, methamphetamine, other dangerous drugs, controlled prescription drugs, and chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine are also smuggled into and trans-shipped from the WT HIDTA region; however, the quantities seized in this region are well below those seized in other areas along the Southwest Border. This is most likely the result of increased enforcement efforts in Mexico and the ongoing conflict between cartels in the El Paso/Juarez plaza, as well as increased, coordinated law enforcement "surge" operation along the border. The WT HIDTA region is a source area for weapons smuggled into Mexico. Mexican DTOs and their associated enforcement groups generally rely on firearms smuggled from the United States into Mexico for their enforcement operations. Violent crime in the WT HIDTA region is largely the result of large-scale drug trafficking throughout the region. Powder and crack cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine contribute most to violent crime in this region. 5 tables, 1 figure, 11 notes, and a list of sources for data and information presented in this report