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Drugs in the United States: Nevada
Cocaine: Cocaine HCL is moderately available in northern Nevada and readily available throughout southern Nevada. Cocaine HCL is transported into Nevada primarily from California via ground transportation. Southern Nevada, specifically Las Vegas, serves as a transshipment point for cocaine HCL with distribution points across the nation. Crack cocaine is readily available in the urban areas of Nevada. African American street gangs predominantly control the distribution market for crack cocaine and base their operations in inexpensive motel rooms and apartments located in impoverished areas throughout Nevadas larger cities.
Heroin: Mexican black tar heroin remains the most prevalent heroin available in Nevada. Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations control the heroin trafficking in the state. These trafficking organizations continue to recruit Mexican nationals to live in the urban areas of Nevada to distribute heroin for the organization. User amounts of low-purity black tar heroin remain readily available from these low-level suppliers and are most often distributed in open air-markets.
Methamphetamine: Meth is the most frequently encountered drug in Nevada and remains available in both personal use and distribution quantities. Nevada is both a point of importation and a source of manufacture for meth. The meth imported into the state is produced primarily in super labs (producing 10 pounds or more in a 24-hour period) by ethnic Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating in Mexico and California. Meth is transported to Nevada primarily via ground transportation. Organized Mexican poly-drug trafficking groups monopolize the large-scale meth trade in Nevada. Distributor levels of imported meth average 1/2 pound quantities or greater and range in purity levels from 9% - 26%. Local meth manufacturing entrepreneurs continue to manufacture meth in small quantities, usually under one ounce per cook. Laboratories seized this quarter utilized the pseudoephedrine, red phosphorus, and iodine method to manufacture methamphetamine. Locally produced meth often contains a higher purity level that frequently averages 90 percent.
Club Drugs: The availability of club drugs in Nevada ranges from sporadic in the northern urban areas to readily available in cities located in the southern section of the state, particularly Las Vegas. Club Drugs, specifically MDMA, GHB, and LSD, are trafficked and abused in local nightclubs, adult entertainment clubs, and at raves. The trafficking of these drugs ranges from hand-to-hand sales within clubs or raves to larger sales between locals and out-of-town distributors. Las Vegas serves as a point of importation and a transshipment area for MDMA. Most MDMA that passes through or is destined for Las Vegas continues to come primarily from Southern California and New York.
Marijuana: Domestically cultivated and Mexican-grown marijuana remains readily available in Nevada. Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations are still the primary source of marijuana smuggled into the area, primarily from California via ground transport. There has been an increased prevalence of indoor marijuana cultivation in the Las Vegas area during the past year. Growers are using elaborate hydroponic equipment to cultivate high-grade marijuana. Marijuana Legislation: In June 2001, Assembly Bill 453 was signed into law and made Nevada the ninth state in the U.S. where patients can use marijuana for medicinal purposes. In addition, the new state law which went into effect October 1, 2001, decriminalizes possession of small amounts (ounce quantity or less) of marijuana, which previously was a state felony.
Other Drugs: The pharmaceutical drugs of choice in Nevada include Lortab, Hydrocodone, Xanax, Codeine, Diazepam and Oxycodone. Prescription forgery and doctor shopping remain the primary methods by which pharmaceutical drugs are diverted in Nevada. Pseudoephedrine, a precursor for the manufacture of meth, remains the most commonly diverted pharmaceutical drug in the Las Vegas area. The supply of pseudoephedrine in Nevada stems from two sources. The first involves products purchased from rogue U.S. chemical companies that sell excessive quantities to non-traditional outlets, such as liquor and convenience stores, who then distribute the pseudoephedrine in case quantity amounts to meth manufacturers. The second emerging source is pseudoephedrine smuggled from Canada. Traffickers purchase pseudoephedrine, often packaged in 1,000 count bottles from Canadian sources and then smuggle it across the U.S. border where it is diverted to manufacturers of meth.
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 two Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) deployments in the State of Nevada since the inception of the program: Reno and Carson City. These deployments resulted in 113 arrests and the seizure of .4 pounds of cocaine; .6 pounds of crack cocaine; 2.2 pounds of marijuana and 18.5 pounds of meth. Also seized were 9 weapons and $31,275 in U.S. currency.
Special Topics: The Clark County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) was established by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2001 to combat the influx of drug trafficking in southern Nevada. In order to alleviate the meth problem in southern Nevada, a HIDTA initiative, the Southern Nevada Joint Methamphetamine Task Force was created to address domestic trafficking organizations and career criminal enterprises which are involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine and the transport and distribution of meth and precursor chemicals within and through the HIDTA area of operation. The primary focus of this Task Force will be the dismantlement and Federal prosecution of such organized drug and precursor chemical trafficking groups.
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