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Drugs in the United States: Minnesota
Cocaine: The majority of cocaine found in Minnesota is purchased from sources of supply in California, Chicago, and Detroit. Some traffickers obtain cocaine directly from sources of supply along the Southwest Border and transport the cocaine to Minnesota themselves. Mexican traffickers control the transportation, distribution, and bulk sales of cocaine. At the retail level, independent African-American traffickers, African-American street gangs (specifically the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords, and Crips), Hispanic street gangs (specifically the Latin Kings), Native-American groups, and independent white groups purchase cocaine from Mexican traffickers and distribute it throughout Minnesota. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, crack cocaine is controlled by independent African-American traffickers and African-American street gangs.
Heroin: Heroin distribution and use have not been significant problems in Minnesota, but recent reports indicate there has been an increase in heroin use, especially in the Mineapolis/St. Paul area. At the wholesale level, sources of supply include Nigerian/West African traffickers operating from Chicago and New York, African-American street gangs with ties to Chicago, and Mexican traffickers operating from the Southwest Border and from Chicago. At the retail level, heroin is distributed primarily by Hispanic and African-American street gangs.
Methamphetamine: The meth threat in Minnesota is a two-pronged problem. First, large quantities of meth produced by Mexican organizations based in California are transported into and distributed throughout the state. Second, meth increasingly is being produced in small laboratories, capable of producing only a few ounces at a time. Mexican groups, who receive their product from the West Coast, control distribution of the drug. These traffickers typically send meth from California through the U.S. mail, via Federal Express, and by courier. Meth-related emergency room mentions in Minneapolis-St. Paul reported by Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) increased from 112 in 1999 to 153 in 2000, an increase of 36 percent.
Club Drugs: Club drugs, including MDMA (Ecstasy), ketamine, GHB, GBL, Rohypnol, LSD, PCP, methamphetamine, nubain, and, to a lesser extent, psilocybin mushrooms, have been reported in Minnesota. Club drug use is most common among young people at raves and nightclubs in suburban areas. Prior to its placement in Schedule I in February 2000, Minnesota placed state controls on the possession of GHB. Ketamine (Special K) use first appeared in Minnesota in 1997 among adolescents and young adults. Public awareness of the growing prevalence and dangers of club drug use has been heightened by several recent incidents: five deaths involving MDMA, the meth-related death of a teenager, several large law enforcement cases involving GBL, and a police-related incident involving a youth on LSD.
Marijuana: Marijuana remains the most commonly used and readily available drug in Minnesota according to public health officials. The importation of bulk marijuana shipments into the state of Minnesota is controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Hispanic street gangs are the major distributors of marijuana at the retail level. Marijuana is readily available from local cultivators in addition to the supplies emanating from the Southwest Border. In 2001, 2,120 cultivated plants were seized from 44 indoor grow operations, and 1,432 cultivated plants were eradicated from 18 outdoor plots. Last year over 4 million ditchweed plants were eradicated. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the number of marijuana-related hospital emergency room mentions in Minneapolis increased approximately 25 percent between 1997 and 2000.
Other Drugs: The use of diverted controlled substances in Minnesota continues to be a problem. The most commonly diverted controlled substances from the licit market are nubain, dilaudid, ritalin, vicodin (hydrocodone), oxycontin, codeine combination products, the benzodiazepines, and the anorectic drugs phentermine and phendimetrazie. Nubain is a prescription narcotic that has recently emerged in the Minneapolis area. This narcotic is being used by body builders who mistakenly believe it acts as a steroid. Four deaths have occurred in the Minneapolis area as a result of nubain being taken with MDMA, and Oxycontin being mixed with cocaine. According to local addicts, Klonopin is more readily available than in the past from illegal sources and prescriptions are easily obtained from some doctors. In rural Minnesota it has also appeared under its international, non-United States trade name, Rivotril, which suggests its importation from foreign sources. Flunitrazepam, trade name Rohypnol, is a long-acting benzodiapine that is typically combined with alcohol or other drugs to produce incapacitation and memory loss similar to an alcohol-induced blackout. Minnesota law enforcement agencies encountered only small amounts of the drug. Its use as a date rape drug is not widespread in Minnesota.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have been 348 deployments completed resulting in 14,794 arrests of violent drug criminals as of June 2002.
Special Topics: The DEA North Central Division is committed to fostering cooperative efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies within Minnesota. A task force consisting of two groups and funded by DEAs State and Local Program is located in Minneapolis. There are 14 Task Force Officers, representing 7 law enforcement agencies, assigned to DEA in Minnesota. There are 23 funded Task Forces throughout Minnesota receiving U.S. Department of Justice Byrne grant money. The DEA participates in the Minneapolis Gang Strike Force (MGSF), which was created in 1997 to combat escalating gang violence in the state. It operates six regional offices. Currently there are over 5,000 confirmed gang members entered into the Minnesota Gang Strike Force Intelligence System and 160 organized gangs.
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