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drugs in New Jersey

Drugs in the United States: New Jersey

State Facts
Population: 8,414,350
Law Enforcement Officers: 26,148
State Prison Population: 27,277
Probation Population: 128,634
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 25
2001 Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 1,291.4 kgs.
Heroin: 168.8 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 0.2 kgs.
Marijuana: 2,196.8 kgs.
Clandestine Laboratories: 0 (DEA, state, and local)

New Jersey contains both an international airport and major commercial shipping centers. Consequently, the state presents an attractive transportation hub for drug organizations, as well as a major challenge for law enforcement entities combating this illicit activity. While Colombian and Dominican drug organizations predominantly control heroin and cocaine trafficking, recent intelligence indicates that Mexican traffickers from the West Coast are now moving cocaine shipments into the New Jersey and New York areas. There continues to be a significant drug abuse problem in New Jersey. In urban areas such as Newark, Elizabeth, Trenton, and Camden, widespread crack cocaine and heroin use continue. In nightclub areas throughout the state and particularly around the casino areas of Atlantic City, club drugs remain popular .

Cocaine: New Jersey is a transshipment area for cocaine which is transported by various means, including shipping, tractor-trailers, commercial air and private vehicles. In some cases, couriers are utilized to bring in smaller shipments into airports and other public transportation facilities. Cocaine is predominantly distributed by Colombian and Dominican nationals who supply Puerto Rican, African-Americans, and Caucasians who distribute at the street level.

Heroin: Since the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11, there has been an increase in the availability of heroin in New Jersey. This has been primarily attributed to the increased law enforcement presence in New York. Narcotics officers have reported large amounts of narcotics are being rerouted to New Jersey before distribution in New York. County narcotics task force commanders have reported an increase in heroin related deaths. Intelligence indicates drug traffickers may be shipping narcotics in cargo containers to the port in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Heroin distributors are also reportedly utilizing two way pagers with text messaging to communicate with each other .

newjersey methamphetamine arrests Methamphetamine: While New Jersey has not traditionally been known as a leading methamphetamine distribution center, it does appear to be available. The Camden Diversion group recently reported the arrest of a DEA fugitive by Jordanian authorities. The fugitive had been indicted in New Jersey for conspiracy to distribute pseudoephedrine, a List I chemical, for the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Club Drugs: Club drugs, most notably MDMA (Ecstasy), have regained popularity in the southeastern areas of the state. As a result of increased availability, prices have come down. Club drugs in New Jersey are generally bought in bulk from the Philadelphia or New York areas, and sold locally at nightclubs or rave parties. Revenues from sales of Ecstasy are so lucrative that individuals who would not normally become involved in drug dealing are willing to sell MDMA for the huge profit. MDMA is still smuggled into New Jersey from the Benelux countries of Western Europe (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).

Marijuana: Marijuana remains readily available throughout New Jersey. Large shipments are believed to be smuggled south from Canada. More recently, it has become apparent that Jamaican nationals may control the marijuana market in the northern part of the state. In southern New Jersey, local law enforcement authorities have eradicated outdoor growing fields. Hydroponic marijuana is also popular in this area as well. Marijuana continues to gain popularity among the younger generation in New Jersey, due in part to increased availability, low cost, and the perception that it is a safer drug than cocaine or heroin.

Other Drugs: Examples of diversion by self-abusers in the medical field who use their employment positions to gain access to blank prescription pads to forge prescriptions continue to be a problem in New Jersey. The majority of controlled substances diverted and distributed illegally include benzodiazepines and opiates, specifically Hydrocodonel products. In addition, county narcotics task forces are reporting a decline in diversion cases involving OxyContin.

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 359 deployments completed resulting in over 14,456 arrests of violent drug criminals as of April 1, 2002. There have been 14 MET deployments in New Jersey since the inception of the program: Asbury Park, Camden, Paterson, Atlantic City, Lakewood, Passaic, Plainfield, Pleasantville, Trenton, Long Branch, two in Newark, and two in Elizabeth. These deployments resulted in 1,084 arrests and the seizure of 17.4 pounds of cocaine; 19.1 pounds of crack cocaine; 9.2 pounds of heroin; 121.3 pounds of marijuana; and 3 grams plus 492 pills of Ecstasy. Also seized were 30 weapons, 16 vehicles, and over $728,000 in U.S. currency and property.

Special Topics: For the first time in the State of New Jersey, gang members were recently prosecuted under federal law. The Newark Division’s Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) successfully targeted members of the violent “Crips” street gang, which had controlled drug sales in an area of Newark. Two members of the gang were charged with narcotics violations and were subsequently convicted. They are awaiting sentencing.

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New Jersey Drug Report Data Source: US Department of Justice, DEA