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Product No.

2007-R0813-015

Midwest
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Drug Market Analysis
May 2007 U.S. Department of Justice

Preface reporting, information obtained through interviews
This assessment provides a strategic overview with law enforcement and public health officials,
of the illicit drug situation in the Midwest High and available statistical data. The report is
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), high- designed to provide policymakers, resource plan-
lighting significant trends and law enforcement ners, and law enforcement officials with a focused
concerns relating to the trafficking and abuse of discussion of key drug issues and developments
illicit drugs. The report was prepared through facing the Midwest HIDTA.
detailed analysis of recent law enforcement

CANADA Area of
Midwest HIDTA

MT ND
MN
SD WI MI
WY
IA
NE
IN OH
WALSH UT MO IL
RAMSEY KS
WARD CO
KY
GRAND
FORKS TN
OK AR
NORTH DAKOTA NM
TX MS AL GA

BUR-
LEIGH CASS
MORTON

RICHLAND
MINNESOTA

BROWN
CODINGTON

LAWRENCE
BROOKINGS WISCONSIN
MEADE SOUTH DAKOTA BEADLE
PENNINGTON

CUSTER MINNE-
HAHA

FALL RIVER LINCOLN
YANKTON
BLACK HAWK
UNION
CLAY
DAKOTA
WOOD- IOWA
BURY
LINN
MARSHALL
SCOTTS BLUFF MADISON DODGE SCOTT
POLK
NEBRASKA PLATTE
POTTAWATTAMIE MUSCATINE

DOUGLAS
APPANOOSE

DAWSON HALL SARPY
LANCASTER

ILLINOIS
JEFFERSON GAGE
BUCHANAN MARION
PLATTE
CLAY
LEAVENWORTH
WYANDOTTE
COLORADO ST. CHARLES
BOONE
SHAWNEE FRANKLIN
KANSAS
SALINE JACKSON
COLE
FRANKLIN JOHNSON
BARTON
MIAMI
MISSOURI ST. LOUIS
JEFFERSON
FINNEY
SEDGWICK ST. LOUIS CITY
CAPE
GREENE GIRARDEAU
CRAWFORD JASPER TEXAS

SEWARD LABETTE SCOTT
CHRISTIAN
CHEROKEE

OKLAHOMA
ARKANSAS

HIDTA County

Figure 1. Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

This assessment is an outgrowth of a partnership between the NDIC and HIDTA Program for preparation of
annual assessments depicting drug trafficking trends and developments in HIDTA Program areas. The report
has been vetted with the HIDTA, is limited in scope to HIDTA jurisdictional boundaries, and draws upon a
wide variety of sources within those boundaries.
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Strategic Drug Threat Drug Trafficking Organizations,
Developments Criminal Groups, and Gangs
• Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) Drug trafficking organizations are complex
are now expanding their transportation and dis- organizations with highly defined command-
tribution networks in eastern Missouri, particu- and-control structures that produce, transport,
larly in the St. Louis metropolitan area, an area and/or distribute large quantities of one or more
illicit drugs.
within the HIDTA where they had previously
maintained minimal presence. Criminal groups operating in the United States
are numerous and range from small to moder-
• An increasing Mexican population within the ately sized, loosely knit groups that distribute one
area has facilitated the control that Mexican or more drugs at the retail and midlevels.
DTOs maintain over drug trafficking and has Gangs are defined by the National Alliance of
enabled them to use small communities in the Gang Investigators’ Associations as groups or
Midwest HIDTA region with large Hispanic associations of three or more persons with a
populations—such as Dodge City, Garden City, common identifying sign, symbol, or name, the
Great Bend, and Liberal, Kansas; Joplin, Mon- members of which individually or collectively
ett, and southwestern Missouri; and Fremont, engage in criminal activity that creates an
Grand Island, Lexington, and Norfolk, atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Nebraska—as transit hubs for larger markets.
• The distribution of white heroin in St. Louis is
• State pseudoephedrine control laws together increasing; the level of white heroin distribution
with law enforcement and public awareness in the city is now equivalent to that of Mexican
programs have contributed to reduced domestic black tar heroin. Most white heroin samples
methamphetamine production since mid-2005. have tested as South American heroin; some
Some local methamphetamine production con- have tested as Southwest Asian.
tinues, however, placing citizens and law
enforcement at risk. • Kansas City and St. Louis have emerged as signif-
icant transshipment centers for cocaine, Mexican
• Local methamphetamine producers are exploit- ice methamphetamine, and marijuana smuggled
ing the region’s lack of centralized reporting on by Mexican DTOs to primary drug markets in the
pseudoephedrine purchases by buying pseudo- Northeast Region, including New York.
ephedrine in quantities at or below state thresh-
olds from multiple pharmacies until they obtain HIDTA Overview
enough to produce methamphetamine. The Midwest HIDTA region consists of 74
• Powder cocaine is becoming increasingly avail- counties spread across six states.1 (See Figure 1 on
able in several Midwest HIDTA markets. Tradi- page 1.) The Midwest HIDTA counties are located
tional crack cocaine distributors in some areas in the central United States between western and
are now selling powder cocaine to users with eastern drug markets; they are connected by an
instructions on how users can convert the pow- extensive transportation infrastructure that renders
der into crack. The distributor can therefore the HIDTA a significant transshipment area for drug
avoid stiffer penalties associated with crack dis- traffickers. Most major interstate highways in the
northern United States pass through and intersect in
tribution. Also, several local law enforcement
the Midwest HIDTA region, facilitating the trans-
agencies report that teenagers and young adults
portation of illicit drugs from the U.S.–Mexico
are increasingly abusing powder cocaine.
(Southwest) border and, to a lesser extent, from the

1. The six states are Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

2
National Drug Intelligence Center

U.S.–Canada (Northern) border to drug markets Mexican DTOs and criminal groups control the
throughout the United States. The region’s primary transportation and wholesale distribution of meth-
markets2 (Kansas City, Omaha, and St. Louis) and amphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana in the area.
secondary markets (Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Members of Mexican DTOs and criminal groups
Iowa; Fargo/Grand Forks, North Dakota; Sioux have hidden themselves within growing Mexican
City, Iowa/Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Springfield, communities in suburban and urban areas in an
Missouri; and Wichita, Kansas) serve as distribu- attempt to avoid law enforcement detection and to
tion centers for major U.S. drug markets as well as expand their drug distribution networks. African
smaller rural counties in the HIDTA. The increas- American and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic street
ing distribution of Mexican ice methamphetamine gangs control retail drug distribution in the Midwest
and the widespread abuse of crack cocaine and HIDTA metropolitan areas and contribute to violent
associated violence are the primary drug threats in crime in those areas (see Table 1 on page 17).
these market areas. Local independent dealers are the principal retail
distributors in the Midwest HIDTA rural areas.
Most illicit drugs used in and transported
through the Midwest HIDTA region enter the Drug Threat Overview
United States from the Southwest Border. Mexican Methamphetamine abuse and distribution are
DTOs transport substantial quantities of ice meth- escalating in the Midwest HIDTA region, straining
amphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin limited local law enforcement, public health, and
across the Southwest Border to distribution hubs in social services resources in many areas, particu-
Arizona (Tucson and Phoenix), California (Los larly in rural counties, according to state and local
Angeles), and Texas (Dallas, McAllen, and El officials. State methamphetamine precursor control
Paso). The drug shipments are usually commingled legislation, as well as law enforcement and public
with legitimate goods in tractor-trailers and trans- awareness programs, have reduced the number of
ported along interstate highways to and through the clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in the
Midwest HIDTA region. Mexican traffickers also region. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups, how-
use private and rental vehicles and virtually all ever, have flooded the market with high-quality
U.S. highways, state highways, and local roads to Mexican ice methamphetamine to meet the demand
transport drugs from the Southwest Border into and created by decreased local methamphetamine pro-
through the HIDTA region. duction. These trafficking organizations distribute
multikilogram quantities of ice methamphetamine
The Midwest HIDTA region’s border with Can- from distribution centers in Kansas City, St. Louis,
ada is also an entry point for drugs available in the and Springfield, Missouri; Kansas City and Wichita,
area. North Dakota and Canada share a 300-mile- Kansas; Omaha and Grand Island, Nebraska; and
long border with 18 official land ports of entry Sioux City, Iowa, to the area’s consumer markets.
(POEs). (See Figure 2 on page 7.) These POEs,
along with a number of unofficial crossing points Crack cocaine distribution and abuse are perva-
in the rural and isolated areas between POEs, sive in urban areas of the HIDTA region. Mexican
provide drug smugglers with the opportunity to DTOs supply local African American street gangs
transport Canadian marijuana, MDMA (3,4- with powder cocaine that they convert to crack in
methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as the area; these gangs control retail distribution of
ecstasy), and methamphetamine precursors the crack that they manufacture. Additionally,
such as pseudoephedrine into and through the African American street gangs based in Chicago,
HIDTA region. Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Minneapolis,

2. Primary markets serve as significant transshipment and distribution centers for illicit drugs supplied to markets in multiple regions of the
country. Secondary markets supply illicit drugs to smaller markets within a state or neighboring states.

3
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Minnesota, transport large quantities of powder to increase distribution of ice methamphetamine in
cocaine, crack cocaine, and other illicit drugs to the HIDTA region. As much as 70 percent of the
Midwest HIDTA markets in Iowa, Nebraska, available methamphetamine in some areas is now
North Dakota, and South Dakota. Street gangs and high-quality Mexican ice methamphetamine.
other crack distributors commonly commit violent,
drug-related crimes including assaults, drive-by Mexican DTOs are attempting to shield them-
shootings, and robberies to protect and expand selves from law enforcement detection within the
their drug operations. growing Hispanic communities in the area. Mexi-
can and Central American immigrants are relocat-
Various other illicit drugs are available and ing to midwestern cities seeking employment in
abused in the Midwest HIDTA. Mexican commercial- manpower-intensive industries, particularly poultry
grade marijuana is the most widely available and processing and meatpacking facilities in rural com-
abused illicit drug throughout the HIDTA region. munities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Locally produced marijuana is also available, as is These Mexican traffickers are operating their traf-
high-quality hydroponic marijuana produced in ficking networks by blending in with local resi-
Canada; however, most marijuana produced in dents and avoiding law enforcement scrutiny. They
Canada transits the region en route to other U.S. often use meatpacking towns such as Dodge City,
markets. Heroin availability and abuse are mostly Great Bend, Garden City, and Liberal, Kansas; Jop-
limited to the St. Louis area, where distribution and lin and Monett, Missouri; and Fremont, Grand
abuse of white heroin is increasing. Diverted phar- Island, Lexington, and Norfolk, Nebraska, as trans-
maceuticals, MDMA, and other dangerous drugs shipment hubs and secondary markets for drug dis-
(ODDs) pose a lesser threat and are available and tribution. Compounding this problem, local law
abused to varying degrees. enforcement officials often lack the ability to com-
municate fluently in Spanish and the resources nec-
Drug Trafficking essary to penetrate these trafficking organizations.
Organizations
African American and Hispanic street gangs
Mexican DTOs are the Midwest HIDTA’s great-
control much of the retail and midlevel distribution
est organizational threat. They are expanding their
of illicit drugs throughout the HIDTA region. Afri-
influence and control over midwestern drug mar-
can American gangs, which often emulate Bloods
kets, particularly by coordinating most of the ice
and Crips sets, dominate crack cocaine distribution
methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana ship-
and distribute multipound quantities of marijuana
ments from the Southwest Border to the Midwest
in urban markets such as Kansas City, Omaha, St.
HIDTA region. Mexican DTOs are the primary
Louis, Springfield, and Wichita. Hispanic gangs,
wholesale distributors of illicit drugs in the HIDTA’s
predominantly Sureños4 factions such as Florencia
major drug markets in Kansas City and Omaha and
13 (F 13), distribute marijuana and methamphet-
have increased their presence and influence in east-
amine in markets such as Kansas City, Omaha, St.
ern Missouri, including the St. Louis metropolitan
Louis, Wichita, and Cedar Rapids. Hispanic gangs
area.3 Mexican DTOs have taken advantage of
also distribute wholesale quantities of marijuana.
decreased domestic methamphetamine production
caused by state pseudoephedrine control legislation

3. African American criminal groups historically controlled most of the wholesale and retail drug distribution in St. Louis; however, Mexican
drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are increasingly distributing drugs at the wholesale level in the city.
4. Sureños and Norteños are affiliations of Hispanic street gangs that initially were formed in the California Department of Corrections by
members who wanted to join together to protect themselves from incarcerated street gang members from other areas. Hispanic street gangs in
southern California (Bakersfield and points south) were known as Sureños street gangs, while those from central and northern California (north
of Bakersfield) were known as Norteños street gangs. Hispanic street gangs operating in the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
(HIDTA) typically claim Sureños affiliation but often are not connected to gangs in southern California.

4
National Drug Intelligence Center

Many African American street gangs operating laboratory seizures in the Midwest HIDTA states
within the HIDTA are local and have limited con- decreased 72 percent between 2004 and 2006, from
nections to national-level gangs or DTOs. It is 5,344 seizures to 1,485 seizures.5 (See Figure 5 on
often difficult to classify gang members or affiliate page 18.) Moreover, law enforcement programs
them with one specific gang, and turf boundaries and public awareness campaigns have alerted an
are not clearly defined. Despite the local nature of increasing number of citizens about the impact that
the street gangs operating in the HIDTA region, clandestine methamphetamine laboratories have on
Chicago-based African American street gangs such emergency responders, children, and the environ-
as Gangster Disciples, Black Peace Stone Nation, ment; this has resulted in an increased number of
and Vice Lords are present in the region and dis- tips to law enforcement as to laboratory activity
tribute crack and other illicit drugs in several mar- and a corresponding decrease in methamphetamine
ket areas, including Cedar Rapids, Fargo, Omaha, production.
Sioux City, and Sioux Falls. However, members of
these gangs typically travel to the area from Chi- Although precursor control legislation has
cago, Minneapolis, and other markets in order to reduced methamphetamine producers’ access to pre-
distribute crack cocaine and then return home. Var- cursor chemicals, weaknesses exist in the laws. None
ious outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs), including of the Midwest HIDTA states have a centralized
El Forastero, Galloping Goose, and Sons of database for pharmacies to record sales of precursors
Silence, distribute limited quantities of metham- such as pseudoephedrine. Instead, each pharmacy
phetamine and marijuana throughout the HIDTA. maintains its own independent logbook that must be
manually compared to the logbooks of thousands of
Production other pharmacies in the area. For example, in Kan-
Illicit drug production in the Midwest HIDTA sas, law enforcement officials must visit each phar-
generally entails methamphetamine production, macy and manually gather logbook information—a
crack cocaine conversion, and cannabis cultivation. time-intensive practice. Methamphetamine produc-
Caucasian criminal groups and independent manu- ers exploit this systematic weakness by making mul-
facturers are the primary producers of methamphet- tiple purchases of pseudoephedrine at or below the
amine and marijuana, while African American legal limit from various locations, sometimes within
criminal groups and street gangs dominate crack numerous jurisdictions (a practice known as smurf-
cocaine conversion. ing). Laboratory operators in these locations often
make “pill runs” into neighboring states to purchase
Legislation controlling the sale of pseudo- large amounts of precursor chemicals and return to
ephedrine and other methamphetamine precursor Missouri to produce the drug.
chemicals as well as law enforcement and public
awareness programs has reduced the number of While domestic methamphetamine production
clandestine laboratories operating in the HIDTA has decreased in the Midwest HIDTA, clandestine
region. State precursor control laws have limited production continues to represent a threat. Law
access to pseudoephedrine in Iowa, Kansas, and enforcement agencies seized more clandestine
Missouri by listing it as a Schedule V controlled methamphetamine laboratories in Missouri than in
substance. Additionally, some HIDTA states have any other state in 2006, with 1,030 reported labora-
enacted quantity restrictions, storage restrictions, tory seizures. Most methamphetamine laboratories
and requirements for pharmacies to maintain log- seized in Missouri were discovered in the state’s
books of pseudoephedrine purchases (see Table 2 southwestern counties and in the St. Louis metro-
on page 17). Aggregate methamphetamine politan area.

5. These data include all methamphetamine laboratories, dumpsites, and chemicals, glassware, and equipment seized by federal, state, and local
authorities and reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC).

5
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Alternative Methods of Transportation
Obtaining Pseudoephedrine The Midwest HIDTA region is a significant
Methamphetamine precursor control legislation transshipment center because of its geographic
has forced local methamphetamine cooks to location in the central United States and its highly
seek alternative sources of ephedrine and developed interstate highway infrastructure. Major
pseudoephedrine to produce methamphetamine. interstates that traverse the region include Inter-
According to laboratory analysis, methamphet- states 29, 35, 44, 55, 70, 80, 90, and 94. (See
amine cooks in St. Charles County, Missouri, Figure 2 on page 7.) These highways are routinely
have attempted to use liquid gelatin capsules or
utilized by traffickers to ship methamphetamine,
syrups containing pseudoephedrine products as
cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and other illicit drugs
a source for the precursor. Laboratory evidence
indicates that the extraction of pseudoephedrine from the Southwest and Northern Borders6 to Mid-
from liquid gelatin capsules is difficult, and west HIDTA markets and through the HIDTA to
pseudoephedrine yields from gel and liquid Great Lakes and Northeast Region markets such as
extractions tend to be low. Some cooks have Chicago and New York. For instance, law enforce-
mistakenly tried to use products containing ment officials made two sizable seizures of white
phenylephrine as precursors; however, these heroin in July and September 2006 that were des-
products do not contain pseudoephedrine, and tined for markets in the northeastern United States.
they do not work in methamphetamine production. In July officials seized 5.3 kilograms of white her-
Additionally, law enforcement investigations in oin during a traffic stop near Junction City, Kansas.
Barry, McDonald, and Lawrence Counties, In September 8.5 kilograms of white heroin were
Missouri, reveal that methamphetamine cooks in seized from a commercial bus passenger at the
the counties have attempted to use veterinary-
grade pseudoephedrine granules to produce
Kansas City, Kansas, bus terminal.7
methamphetamine. These granules are
generally prescribed by veterinarians for horses Mexican DTOs and criminal groups transport
with respiratory problems. The success that most of the ice methamphetamine, cocaine, mari-
methamphetamine cooks have had using granules juana, and Mexican black tar and brown powder
in producing the drug is unknown at this time. heroin available in the HIDTA region. These orga-
nizations primarily use commercial and private
Powder cocaine is frequently converted to vehicles with increasingly sophisticated hidden
crack cocaine and cannabis is grown in the HIDTA compartments to transport these drugs into the
region. African American criminal groups and area. Mexican DTOs frequently recruit Mexican
street gangs in metropolitan areas such as Kansas immigrants living in the region, with no ties to the
City, Omaha, St. Louis, Sioux Falls, Springfield, organization, to transport illicit drugs from the
Topeka, and Wichita are the primary converters of Southwest Border to the HIDTA region. DTO lead-
powder cocaine into crack. These groups often ers thereby insulate themselves from law enforce-
obtain powder cocaine from Mexican sources and ment detection if the shipment is stopped, since the
then convert it into crack for local distribution. drivers do not know who owns the drug shipment.
Limited cannabis cultivation occurs throughout the Some Mexican DTOs also attempt to recruit mid-
Midwest HIDTA at both indoor and outdoor loca- dle-aged or elderly Caucasian and Hispanic
tions. Caucasian independent distributors are the females as couriers, since DTO leaders reportedly
primary growers of cannabis in the HIDTA region. believe that law enforcement will be less suspi-
However, most of the marijuana available in the cious of these people.
HIDTA is produced in Mexico.

6. Law enforcement believes that available arrest and seizure statistics do not accurately reflect the extent of drug trafficking over the U.S.–
Canada border and underrepresent the level of smuggling activity on the Northern Border.
7. The source area of the white heroin seized in the foregoing examples is unknown.

6
National Drug Intelligence Center

Carbury Sarles
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NORTH DAKOTA
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Bismarck §
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Fargo
MICHIGAN

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MINNESOTA
35

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Minneapolis
St. Paul
WISCONSIN

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City
SOUTH DAKOTA
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Madison
Sioux Falls

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South Sioux City Rockford
Sioux City IOWA 380

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Cedar
Rapids
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NEBRASKA 39

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Des Moines

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Island
Omaha 74 Peoria

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ILLINOIS

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Lincoln

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76
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MISSOURI §
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COLORADO
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KANSAS
Topeka Kansas City Kansas City

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HIDTA County

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250,000 - 499,999

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Wichita
Springfield

Place of Interest

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Interstate
U.S. Highway 35 44 55

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Figure 2. Midwest HIDTA region transportation infrastructure.

Traffickers predominantly transport illicit drug transport powder and crack cocaine, Mexican mari-
shipments into the HIDTA region in private and juana, and PCP (phencyclidine) to the area, but less
commercial vehicles. Highway seizures indicate frequently than in the past. It is generally easier and
that most illicit drug shipments destined for the safer for these traffickers to purchase illicit drugs
region originate in Arizona, California, Texas, or from Mexican wholesalers and other traffickers in
other Southwest Region areas. Common source cit- the Kansas City metropolitan area, Wichita, and
ies identified by Kansas Highway Patrol and Mis- other Midwest HIDTA market areas. African Ameri-
souri Highway Patrol interdiction efforts include can street gang members based in Chicago, Detroit,
Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Los Angeles and and Minneapolis also transport crack, powder
San Diego, California; and El Paso, Texas. Ship- cocaine, and marijuana to metropolitan areas in
ment size varies, but typical loads of Mexican Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
methamphetamine bound for Kansas City, Kansas,
range from 5 to 20 pounds per car. Asian trafficking groups transport MDMA and
Canadian marijuana into and through the HIDTA
African American, Asian, and Caucasian street region. Federal and county officials in Wichita
gangs, criminal groups, and independent dealers report that Vietnamese traffickers with sources in

7
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Texas and Washington State are smuggling whole- Chicago, Dayton, Ohio, and Detroit. They also dis-
sale quantities of MDMA into Wichita. Addition- tribute cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphet-
ally, Caucasian trafficking groups transport Mexican amine from St. Louis to Chicago and Springfield,
and Canadian marijuana, Mexican methamphet- Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conver-
amine, and limited quantities of MDMA to the area. gence of Interstates 29, 35, and 70 in the Kansas
City metropolitan area and Interstates 44, 55, 64,
Distribution and 70 in St. Louis provides easy access for distribu-
Mexican DTOs and criminal groups control tors to transport illicit drugs to these markets.
wholesale and much of the midlevel methamphet-
amine, powder cocaine, marijuana, and heroin dis- Various ethnic street gangs and criminal groups
tribution in the HIDTA region, distributing the distribute illicit drugs at the retail level. Retail
drugs from the area’s primary and secondary mar- crack distribution is conducted primarily by Afri-
kets. Most Mexican DTOs and criminal groups do can American street gangs and criminal groups at
not stockpile drug shipments for extended periods drug markets in many areas, but aggressive law
of time but, rather, use vacant stash houses and enforcement efforts have forced some of these dis-
apartments for short-term storage and distribution tributors to conduct sales from apartments or at
to midlevel dealers. Mexican wholesale and controlled locations. Hispanic street gangs distrib-
midlevel dealers are the primary sources of supply ute methamphetamine and marijuana at the retail
for Caucasian and African American retailers, con- level, while Caucasian street gangs, criminal
ducting most sales through referrals and prear- groups, and local independent dealers distribute
ranged meetings rather than in open-air settings methamphetamine, marijuana, and limited quanti-
(see Table 1 on page 17). ties of MDMA at the retail level. Asian street gangs
and criminal groups distribute varying quantities of
Mexican DTOs have increased ice metham- MDMA in Des Moines, the Kansas City metropoli-
phetamine distribution considerably in the Midwest tan area, Springfield, St. Louis, Wichita, and
HIDTA region over the past 2 years. State pseu- Columbia, Missouri. Various OMGs such as El
doephedrine control legislation has reduced domes- Forastero, Galloping Goose, and Sons of Silence
tic methamphetamine availability but created an distribute methamphetamine and marijuana in the
opportunity for Mexican organizations to meet HIDTA.
local demand with high-quality Mexican ice meth-
amphetamine. Law enforcement agencies in most Retail powder cocaine distribution has notice-
HIDTA drug markets now report that the vast ably increased throughout Kansas, Missouri, and
majority of available methamphetamine is ice Nebraska. Mexican DTOs are the wholesale source
methamphetamine. for much of the powder cocaine distributed in the
HIDTA. They supply the cocaine to African Ameri-
Mexican DTOs use Kansas City, Missouri, and, can, Caucasian, and Hispanic criminal groups as
increasingly, St. Louis as principal distribution cen- well as independent dealers for retail distribution.
ters. Mexican traffickers typically offload drug According to law enforcement officials, some retail
shipments from the Southwest Region to these cit- distributors are increasingly distributing powder
ies, repackage the drugs, and then supply them to cocaine to avoid enhanced crack sentencing guide-
markets within the region as well as to major mar- lines; they also may believe that law enforcement
ket areas throughout the Midwest, Great Lakes, officials are concentrating on methamphetamine and
and Northeast Regions. Mexican traffickers that cocaine distribution will attract less attention.
distribute cocaine from Kansas City, Missouri, to

8
National Drug Intelligence Center

Drug-Related Crime linked to the spread of sexually transmitted dis-
Violent and property crimes in the HIDTA eases such as syphilis and chlamydia.
region often are associated with the distribution and
abuse of illicit drugs, particularly crack cocaine and Powder cocaine abuse has surged in many areas
methamphetamine.8 Crack cocaine and metham- of the Midwest HIDTA region in the past year,
phetamine distributors commonly commit violent largely because of increasing demand from
crimes including assault, carjacking, drive-by younger abusers and a desire by distributors to
shooting, home invasion, and robbery to protect and avoid lengthier crack cocaine distribution penal-
expand their drug operations. Methamphetamine ties. Numerous law enforcement agencies have
and crack abusers are often associated with violent reported that powder cocaine seizures are increas-
crimes including domestic violence and child ing at the retail level. The St. Louis Metropolitan
abuse; abusers also often commit property crimes Police Laboratory reports that powder cocaine sub-
such as burglary, forgery, fraud, larceny, and iden- missions increased from 11,457 grams in fiscal
tity theft to support their addictions. Rising meth- year (FY) 2005 to 71,581 grams in FY2006. The
amphetamine abuse levels in the area will most Johnson County, Kansas, Crime Laboratory
likely lead to increased incidents of these crimes. reported a similar increase, with 541 powder
cocaine cases submitted between January and
August 2006 compared with approximately 341
Abuse cases for the same period in 2005. Law enforce-
Increasing methamphetamine abuse is the most ment reporting in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska
critical drug abuse concern in the Midwest HIDTA indicates that powder cocaine has become popular
region, according to public health officials. Treat- with high school and college students.
ment admissions for amphetamines (which include
methamphetamine) increased or remained stable in White heroin availability has increased in the
all HIDTA states through 2005 (the most recent St. Louis metropolitan area over the past year.
data available). Further, aggregate amphetamine According to the Drug Enforcement Administra-
admissions to publicly funded facilities in HIDTA tion (DEA) St. Louis Field Division, white heroin
states increased 40 percent from 11,177 to 18,423 and Mexican black tar heroin are readily available
during the same period.9 (See Figure 4 on page 18.) in St. Louis. DEA Domestic Monitoring Program
(DMP) tests indicate the presence of South Ameri-
Methamphetamine abuse and its associated can and Mexican black tar heroin in the city;
violence severely tax the resources of public Southwest Asian heroin is also present, but to a far
health departments, treatment centers, and social lesser extent. White heroin distributed in the St.
service agencies in the Midwest HIDTA region. Louis metropolitan area is occasionally mixed
Methamphetamine-related domestic violence, with fentanyl. There were 13 overdose deaths
child abuse, and child neglect have burdened local involving heroin/fentanyl combinations in the St.
foster care systems and social services. Because of Louis area in 2006, according to DEA. However,
methamphetamine’s highly addictive nature, the source of these particular heroin/fentanyl com-
longer treatment programs and high recidivism binations is uncertain.
rates encumber treatment centers in the area.
Additionally, methamphetamine abuse often is

8. A direct correlation between drugs and violent crime is difficult to statistically represent. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform
Crime Report (UCR) more narrowly defines what constitutes a drug-related crime than the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
Agencies reporting through UCR will represent less drug-related crime than agencies reporting the same crimes through NIBRS.
9. The year for which the most recent Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) information is available is 2005. Amphetamine admissions include
methamphetamine.

9
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Illicit Finance Figure 3 on page 11.) Individual market discus-
Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the sions are intended to augment the overall discus-
Midwest HIDTA region’s principal drug money sion of drug trafficking and abuse in the Midwest
launderers. These traffickers transport cash and HIDTA region, highlighting localized trends and
monetary instruments in bulk from the HIDTA to deviations. The general drug situation in the Mid-
destinations in the Southwest, including El Paso, west HIDTA region applies to an individual market
Houston, Phoenix, and Tucson, as well as to Mexico. unless otherwise stated.
Additionally, illicit proceeds generated in drug
markets outside the HIDTA region are transported Primary Markets
to the area, consolidated, and shipped in bulk to the Kansas City Metropolitan Area,
southwestern United States and Mexico. Traffick- Kansas/Missouri
ers primarily transport bulk cash by private and The Kansas City metropolitan area includes
commercial vehicles that often are equipped with Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties in Mis-
hidden compartments. Mexican DTOs and criminal souri and Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in
groups also use money services businesses (MSBs) Kansas; it has a combined population of over 1.6
such as money remitters and check-cashing firms to million residents. The Kansas City metropolitan
launder drug proceeds. These traffickers also pur- area’s central geographic location at the juncture of
chase expensive items, including jewelry and luxury several of the nation’s busiest highways (I-29, I-35,
vehicles, and acquire cash-intensive businesses such and I-70), makes it a major transshipment point for
as bars, jewelry stores, restaurants, and used car lots illicit drugs and drug proceeds to, from, and
that they use to mask illicit proceeds by commin- between significant market areas in the West
gling them with funds generated at the businesses. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas), the Mid-
Retail-level traffickers also use small, cash-intensive west (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska), and the East
front businesses to commingle illicit proceeds with (Illinois, Michigan, New York).
legitimate funds; they also purchase vehicles, luxury
items, and businesses with drug proceeds. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are the
primary drug threats to the metropolitan area.
A money laundering trend involving the acqui- Crack cocaine distribution dominates the inner-city
sition of real estate is developing among local drug markets. African American crack distributors
retail-level traffickers in Missouri and Kansas. The frequently obtain powder cocaine for conversion
local traffickers purchase dilapidated private homes from Mexican and Hispanic midlevel dealers
with drug proceeds, make cosmetic improvements, located in the old northeast section of Kansas City,
and then claim that extensive repairs were made to Missouri, and from Mexican wholesale and
the homes in order to resell them at inflated prices midlevel dealers in Kansas City, Kansas. Mexican
to unsuspecting purchasers. The drug proceeds are wholesale and midlevel dealers typically are sup-
hidden in the fictitious repairs and commingled plied by sources in the El Paso and Phoenix areas.
with the profits from the sale. Crack sales are typically arranged by cellular
phones and conducted at prearranged locations.
Market Areas Mexican wholesale and midlevel dealers typically
Overview distribute methamphetamine in outlying and subur-
ban areas of the metropolitan area; most of the
The Midwest HIDTA contains several primary
methamphetamine is Mexican ice methamphet-
drug market areas, including the Kansas City,
amine (see Table 1 on page 17).
Omaha, and St. Louis metropolitan areas, and a
number of secondary markets including Cedar
Rapids, Des Moines, Fargo/Grand Forks, Sioux
City/Sioux Falls, Springfield, and Wichita. (See

10
National Drug Intelligence Center

CANADA

Grand
Forks
NORTH DAKOTA

Fargo

MINNESOTA

WISCONSIN
SOUTH DAKOTA

Sioux Falls

Sioux City
IOWA

Cedar
Rapids

NEBRASKA
Des Moines

Omaha "
)

ILLINOIS

Kansas
COLORADO "
) City
KANSAS St. Louis
"
)

MISSOURI
Wichita

Springfield

HIDTA County
"
) Primary Drug Market
Secondary Drug Market OKLAHOMA
ARKANSAS

Figure 3. Primary and secondary drug markets.

Drug-related violent crime poses a problem in Omaha, Nebraska
the Kansas City metropolitan area. African Ameri- The Omaha metropolitan area, which includes
can and Hispanic street gangs are the primary perpe- the city of Omaha, Douglas and Sarpy Counties in
trators. African American gangs are the most Nebraska, and Pottawattamie County in Iowa, is
dominant but tend to be loosely organized and based located on the eastern Nebraska border along the
on neighborhood affiliations. Hispanic street gangs Missouri River and has a combined population of
are increasing in number and are more organized and over 670,000 residents. Interstates 29 and 80 inter-
tied to nationally affiliated gangs such as Sureños sect in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is adjacent to
and F 13. Both rely on illicit drug distribution for Omaha, providing drug traffickers with easy access
revenue; however, most violence between them to the Kansas City metropolitan area and national
stems from personal animosities rather than drug drug markets in California and southwestern states.
turf. Additionally, an ongoing rivalry between Omaha is a regional distribution center for illicit
Sureños and other Hispanic gangs has resulted in fre- drugs—cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana
quent assaults and shootings of rival gang members. are distributed from Omaha to neighboring states,
including Iowa and South Dakota.

11
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Mexican DTOs dominate the Omaha wholesale The convergence of Interstates 44, 55, 64, and 70
drug market. These traffickers transport wholesale in St. Louis provides easy access for distributors to
quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, and mari- transport illicit drugs from areas at or near the
juana to and through Omaha from distribution hubs Southwest Border to St. Louis and outside markets.
in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, and numerous
Southwest Region cities, including Phoenix, Tuc- Mexican DTOs have increased their presence in
son, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Mexican DTOs St. Louis. Mexican organizations are the principal
have supplanted dwindling supplies of locally transporters of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine,
produced methamphetamine with high-purity and marijuana to the area and have become the princi-
Mexican ice methamphetamine in Omaha and sur- pal wholesale distributors. Mexican DTOs operating
rounding counties. In addition, Mexican DTOs in St. Louis have not yet established the intricate drug
maintain connections throughout many smaller distribution infrastructure set up by other Mexican
Nebraska towns near Omaha, such as Fremont, DTOs in market areas such as Kansas City, Missouri.
Grand Island, Lexington, and Norfolk, where large They sometimes must cooperate with local drug traf-
numbers of Mexican nationals have sought fickers, making them vulnerable to law enforcement
employment in meatpacking and poultry process- penetration. Mexican DTOs in St. Louis have primary
ing businesses. Mexican DTOs use their connec- sources of supply in Phoenix and Tucson; they also
tions in these cities to smuggle illicit drugs into the acquire illicit drugs from sources in Chicago, Dallas,
Omaha area. El Paso, Houston, and Los Angeles. African Ameri-
can street gangs control nearly all retail drug distribu-
African American and Hispanic street gangs tion in the city of St. Louis, and African American
control retail distribution in Omaha. Black Gang- independent dealers dominate retail distribution in St.
ster Disciples, a particularly active African Ameri- Louis County (see Table 1 on page 17).
can street gang in the area, has increased its drug
activities in Omaha during the past 2 years. Some Heroin and crack distribution and abuse are
Black Gangster Disciples’ members operating in major drug problems in St. Louis. White powder
Omaha are from the area, while others are from heroin known as “China” has overtaken Mexican
Chicago. Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) is the fastest- black tar heroin as the dominant type of heroin
growing Hispanic street gang in Omaha. In addition available in the city. The street name “China” does
to distributing drugs, MS 13 members organize not indicate the origin of the heroin. Of the St.
motor vehicle thefts in the Omaha metropolitan Louis heroin samples tested in 2005 under the
area. Law enforcement investigations have resulted DEA DMP, 50 percent tested as South America
in the deportation of more than 45 known MS 13 heroin, 32 percent tested as Mexican black tar her-
members since 2005 (see Table 1 on page 17). oin, and 18 percent tested as Southwest Asia her-
oin. Investigations in St. Louis have revealed that
St. Louis, Missouri the majority of white powder heroin available is
The St. Louis metropolitan area, which transported from sources in Chicago. African
includes the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, American street gangs dominate crack distribution,
is located in east central Missouri along the Missis- converting most powder cocaine available in the city
sippi River; it has a combined population of more into crack. However, law enforcement reporting
than 1.3 million. St. Louis is a significant consumer indicates that powder cocaine is becoming increas-
market for cocaine and heroin. Mexican traffickers ingly available, since some dealers are now believed
increasingly are using the area as a transshipment to be distributing powder cocaine to abusers with
and distribution center to supply cocaine, heroin, directions on how to convert the powder to crack to
marijuana, and methamphetamine throughout cen- avoid enhanced penalties for crack distribution.
tral Missouri and markets in other states, including
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

12
National Drug Intelligence Center

Methamphetamine is rarely encountered in the Des Moines, Iowa
city of St. Louis but is the primary drug problem in The Des Moines metropolitan area, which
surrounding counties, including St. Louis County. includes the city of Des Moines and Polk County,
Despite statewide pseudoephedrine control legisla- has approximately 375,000 residents. The highway
tion, methamphetamine production remains rela- infrastructure in the area facilitates the transporta-
tively high in eastern Missouri and in areas tion of illicit drugs and drug proceeds to and from
adjacent to St. Louis. According to law enforce- Des Moines. Interstates 35 and 80 intersect in Polk
ment officials, laboratory operators in these loca- County northeast of Des Moines and are the princi-
tions travel to neighboring states to purchase large pal highways serving the area. Mexican DTOs use
amounts of precursor chemicals and return to Des Moines as a transshipment center for ice meth-
Missouri to manufacture methamphetamine. amphetamine destined for Northeast markets. Des
Moines is also a large consumer market.
Secondary Markets
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Mexican DTOs are the primary transporters of
Cedar Rapids is the second-largest city in Iowa ice methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana
and is located in the eastern part of the state on the into the area; they use private vehicles to transport
Cedar River in Linn County. The population of the drugs from Mexico, California, Texas, and
Cedar Rapids is over 119,000. Cedar Rapids is pri- Arizona. Additionally, African American street
marily a consumer market for illicit drugs, but gangs from Detroit, the Kansas City metropolitan
some cocaine and marijuana are supplied from area, and Chicago transport powder cocaine,
Cedar Rapids to neighboring cities in Iowa, partic- crack, and marijuana to Des Moines. They gener-
ularly Cedar Falls, Waterloo, and Dubuque. ally transport these drugs to Des Moines in private
vehicles, sell the drugs, and return home with the
Crack cocaine distribution and abuse are signif- drug proceeds. Moreover, African American street
icant drug concerns to public health and law gangs from Detroit have been increasing their
enforcement officials in Cedar Rapids. Chicago- influence in Des Moines.
based African American street gangs, primarily
Latin Kings, Gangster Disciples, and Vice Lords, African American and Hispanic street gangs
control the retail distribution of crack cocaine in are the primary retail distributors throughout Des
Cedar Rapids; they also distribute powder cocaine Moines. Local African American street gangs are
and heroin. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups the primary powder cocaine and crack distributors.
transport large quantities of methamphetamine to These gangs tend to be loosely organized and
Cedar Rapids by commercial and private vehicles formed in and around housing developments. His-
and package delivery services; they dominate dis- panic street gangs tend to be more hierarchical and
tribution of the drug. The presence of a large tied to nationally affiliated gangs such as 18th
undocumented Hispanic population in the Cedar Street Gang, Latin Kings, and MS 13. Hispanic
Rapids area has facilitated methamphetamine dis- street gangs distribute cocaine, methamphetamine,
tribution by Mexican DTOs. Marijuana and pow- and marijuana. Both African American and His-
der cocaine also are highly available in Cedar panic street gangs have used violence in the past to
Rapids. MDMA is available and is transported protect drug turf. Moreover, gang-related graffiti
from New York, California, Spain, and the Nether- increased nearly 25 percent in the Des Moines area
lands to Cedar Rapids by package delivery services from 2005 to 2006 (see Table 1 on page 17).
and is used at rave parties (see Table 1 on page 17).
Methamphetamine distribution and abuse are
the most serious drug problems for Des Moines
law enforcement. Mexican DTOs quickly supplied
high-quality ice methamphetamine to meet local

13
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

demand after methamphetamine precursor control hydroxybutyrate). Local adolescents continue to
legislation reduced locally produced methamphet- abuse prescription and over-the-counter medica-
amine availability. Most of the methamphetamine tions. Young drug-user activity also involves the
distributed in Des Moines is now ice methamphet- abuse of “stackers,” which consist of a combination
amine, which Mexican wholesale drug distribu- of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
tors supply to Caucasian and Hispanic retail
distributors. African American street gangs control Sioux City, Iowa/Sioux Falls,
crack distribution, selling the drug to Caucasian South Dakota
and African American users. Mexican commercial- The Sioux City/Sioux Falls area—which
grade marijuana is widely available and abused. includes Woodbury County, Iowa; Dakota County,
Locally produced marijuana is available but not Nebraska; and Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties,
widely distributed. Canadian hydroponic mari- South Dakota—is located along I-29. The Sioux
juana is rarely encountered. City/Sioux Falls area has a combined population of
over 296,000. The area is a distribution center for
Fargo/Grand Forks, North Dakota methamphetamine, marijuana, powder cocaine,
The Fargo/Grand Forks area includes Cass, and MDMA for markets in Iowa, Minnesota,
Grand Forks, Ramsey, Richland, and Walsh Coun- Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
ties in North Dakota. The population of the area’s
five counties is approximately 215,000, roughly Mexican criminal groups are the primary trans-
one-third of the total population of the state. The porters and distributors of illicit drugs to the Sioux
Fargo/Grand Forks area is primarily a consumer City/Sioux Falls area. Mexican criminal groups
market for illicit drugs; however, it does serve as a transport wholesale quantities of methamphet-
distribution center for small communities in east- amine, marijuana, and powder cocaine to the area
ern and central North Dakota. from California and Arizona, as well as from Chi-
cago. Mexican wholesale traffickers sell metham-
Methamphetamine is the primary drug threat to phetamine and other illicit drugs to Mexican and
the Fargo/Grand Forks area, and availability of the Caucasian midlevel dealers, who in turn sell the
drug is increasing. Mexican DTOs are the principal drugs to the area’s retail distributors. Caucasian
transporters and distributors of methamphetamine independent dealers are the primary retail distribu-
and most other illicit drugs in the Fargo/Grand tors in the Sioux City/Sioux Falls area; Mexican
Forks area. These traffickers have supplied increas- and Native American independent dealers also dis-
ing amounts of ice methamphetamine to meet local tribute drugs at the retail level, but to a lesser extent
demand for the drug. Law enforcement agencies in (see Table 1 on page 17).
Grand Forks and Fargo also report an increase in
powder and crack cocaine availability. African Mexican ice methamphetamine has replaced
American street gangs from Chicago; Minneapolis powder methamphetamine as the primary form of
and St. Paul, Minnesota; and increasingly, Detroit the drug in the area. Ice methamphetamine purity
are the primary transporters and distributors of levels have dropped, however, indicating that the
powder cocaine and crack in the Fargo/Grand drug is being cut several times before it reaches the
Forks area (see Table 1 on page 17). Sioux City/Sioux Falls area, or powder metham-
phetamine is made to appear and is marketed as
Marijuana and diverted pharmaceuticals also ice methamphetamine. Over the past year and a
are abused in Fargo/Grand Forks. Despite the half, the age of methamphetamine users has
area’s proximity to Canada, Mexican commercial- dropped, and abuse now occurs mainly among
grade marijuana is more available than Canadian Caucasian males and females in their early twen-
hydroponic marijuana. Marijuana is sometimes ties to early forties.
laced with methamphetamine and GHB (gamma-

14
National Drug Intelligence Center

Crack cocaine distribution is increasing in the Chicago, the Kansas City metropolitan area, St.
Sioux City/Sioux Falls area because of a growing Louis, and Little Rock, Arkansas, transport and dis-
number of distribution networks that are being tribute cocaine to Springfield. These groups previ-
established by African American criminal groups ously transported the drug in crack form but now
from Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Omaha, typically transport the drug in powder form and
and Sioux City. African American gang members convert it to crack in Springfield in an attempt to
from Chicago, the Kansas City metropolitan area, avoid increased penalties for trafficking crack.
St. Louis, and Omaha travel to Sioux City, often by
commercial buses, to distribute crack because of the Methamphetamine production has declined dra-
drug’s large profit margins in the area. An ounce of matically in the Springfield area, and this decrease
crack cocaine in Chicago sells for $500, while an is largely attributed to the increased availability of
ounce of crack cocaine in Sioux Falls sells for ice methamphetamine supplied by Mexican DTOs
approximately $5,600. The increase in crack distri- as well as state pseudoephedrine legislation. Meth-
bution has spawned other crimes, such as assault amphetamine cooks who continue to operate in
and homicide, with several homicides in the Sioux Springfield are manufacturing condensed ammonia
City area attributed to drug-related gang violence. from ammonia sulfate and ammonia phosphate for
use in methamphetamine production.
Springfield, Missouri
Springfield, with a population of more than Wichita, Kansas
150,000, is the county seat of Greene County and is The Wichita metropolitan area, which includes
situated on I-44, which connects Springfield to St. the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County, is
Louis and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Springfield located in south central Kansas; it has a population
is a consumer market and a state distribution cen- of more than 450,000. Wichita is a drug distribu-
ter. Cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine are tion center as well as a significant consumer mar-
distributed from Springfield to areas throughout ket. The Wichita area contains two major drug
Missouri. transportation routes, I-35 and U.S. Highway 54,
which enable drug transporters to bring illicit drugs
Ice methamphetamine distribution and abuse from the Southwest to the area. Mexican ice meth-
are the major drug threats in Springfield, although amphetamine, powder cocaine, and marijuana are
crack cocaine distribution and abuse are prevalent distributed from Wichita to other Kansas towns
and frequently associated with violent crimes. such as Salina, Hays, Newton, and Hutchinson.
Hydroponic marijuana availability and abuse are
increasing slightly, and the increase is attributed to Mexican DTOs and criminal groups control the
the large college population in Springfield that typ- wholesale distribution of methamphetamine,
ically prefers hydroponic marijuana (see Table 1 on cocaine, and marijuana in Wichita. They have
page 17). flooded the market with high-purity ice metham-
phetamine, which has attracted some crack users
Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the because of its potency and simulative effect. These
principal transporters and wholesale distributors of traffickers import multipound shipments from
most illicit drugs in Springfield. These traffickers Phoenix, El Paso, and locations in California in
transport wholesale quantities of ice methamphet- private vehicles or by commercial trucking compa-
amine, cocaine, and marijuana from Texas, Ari- nies. Mexican DTOs may be using indirect
zona, and New Mexico to Springfield for distri- routes—transporting drugs from the Southwest to
bution. African American local independent deal- Wichita through South Dakota or Nebraska—in an
ers, some with street gang affiliations, dominate effort to avoid detection.
retail distribution of crack cocaine. African Ameri-
can criminal groups and street gangs in Detroit,

15
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Mexican, Caucasian, and Asian criminal groups Mexican ice methamphetamine distribution
distribute crack, marijuana, and MDMA throughout will increase in the Midwest HIDTA region, bur-
the Wichita area. African American distributors dening already taxed law enforcement agencies,
convert most of the powder cocaine available into public health departments, treatment centers, and
crack for retail distribution. Recently, some Asian social services agencies. Mexican ice methamphet-
gang members have begun to distribute powder amine will remain the dominant form of the drug.
cocaine and crack in Wichita. Mexican DTOs trans-
port bricked Mexican marijuana, known by local Local methamphetamine production will con-
users as Shwag, from El Paso, Phoenix, and Tucson. tinue, but at significantly reduced levels from pre-
Local Caucasian dealers sometimes harvest wild vious years. Local methamphetamine producers
ditch weed and use it as filler with commercial- will continue to purchase pseudoephedrine in
grade Mexican marijuana to increase the amount of quantities less than threshold amounts at several
drug to sell and thereby increase profits. Asian locations throughout the region until they acquire
criminal groups from Canada and Washington State enough to manufacture a supply of methamphet-
transport MDMA to Wichita, where it is distributed amine, unless the Midwest states create centralized
by Asian criminal groups and independent college databases to track pseudoephedrine purchases. Fur-
age users (see Table 1 on page 17). ther, methamphetamine producers will increasingly
attempt to extract pseudoephedrine from liquid or
Street gang activity is increasing in Wichita. gelatin capsules and search for alternative means of
Some of the increased street gang activity and obtaining sufficient precursor chemicals.
gang-related violence is caused by rival distribu-
tors, including Asian street gangs, becoming active Demand for powder cocaine will most likely
in crack cocaine distribution, which was typically increase throughout the HIDTA region but will not
controlled by African American criminal groups. eclipse demand for crack cocaine. To this end, law
enforcement and public health officials in several
Outlook jurisdictions report increasing powder cocaine
Mexican DTOs will increasingly control distri- abuse among teenagers and young adults. Addi-
bution of methamphetamine, powder cocaine, mar- tionally, law enforcement officials report that crack
ijuana, and heroin in the Midwest HIDTA region. cocaine distributors are increasingly converting
These trafficking organizations have developed powder cocaine to crack at or near distribution sites
elaborate transportation and distribution networks in an attempt to avoid law enforcement detection
throughout much of the region and are increasing and the harsher penalties that are often associated
their activities in areas such as St. Louis. Many with the trafficking of crack cocaine. Conse-
midlevel and retail distributors prefer to purchase quently, their demand for wholesale quantities of
ice methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana powder cocaine in the region is increasing. To meet
from Mexican wholesalers and midlevel dealers in the demand, Mexican wholesale distributors might
Midwest HIDTA markets rather than travel to be able to supply additional quantities of the drug
source cities in California or along the Southwest through their vast transportation networks.
Border. The reliance of retail distributors on Mexi-
can wholesale suppliers will continue to strengthen Hispanic street gangs will increase their pres-
control by the wholesalers over the primary and ence in many market areas, such as Des Moines,
secondary markets in the HIDTA region. These Omaha, and the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Mexican DTOs will very likely use the Midwest The increasing Hispanic population in the Midwest
HIDTA region as a staging area for cocaine, meth- HIDTA region will provide new recruits for His-
amphetamine, and marijuana as they continue to panic street gangs already active in the region.
expand their areas of operation eastward.

16
National Drug Intelligence Center

Rising methamphetamine distribution in the resort to violence to protect their businesses. This
HIDTA region will lead to increased incidents of will contribute to increased violence in the Mid-
violent and property crimes. African American west HIDTA region as these gangs compete for
and Hispanic street gangs rely on drug revenue, customers and drug territory as well as avenge
including that generated by the sale of metham- personal and gang rivalries.
phetamine, to support their activities, and they

Table 1. Retail Distribution in the Midwest HIDTA, by Drug
Drug Distributor Market
Methamphetamine Hispanic street gangs; Caucasian local independent dealers All markets

Crack Cocaine and
African American street gangs and independent dealers All markets
Powder Cocaine

Hispanic street gangs; African American street gangs; Caucasian local
Marijuana All markets
independent dealers

African American street gangs and local independent dealers; Caucasian
Heroin St. Louis
local independent dealers

Phencyclidine Kansas City, MO/KS; Omaha;
African American street gang members and local independent dealers
(PCP) St. Louis; Wichita
Source: Treatment Episode Data Set.

Table 2. Comparisons of Pseudoephedrine Control Legislation, by Midwest HIDTA State
Provisions Iowa Kansas Missouri Nebraska North Dakota South Dakota
Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine
X X X
(E/P) Products in Schedule V

Liquids or liquid-
Products that are in Liquids,
filled gel capsules;
Schedule V Exemptions/ liquid/gel cap form liquid cap-
products not
Exceptions containing 360 milli- sules, and gel
used in illegal
grams or less of E/P caps
manufacture

Written/Electronic Log or
X X X X
Record of Sale Kept by Seller

Product Sold by Pharmacy/
Pharmacist/Pharmacy
X X X
Technician/Pharmacy Intern or
Clerk

Product Sold in Pharmacy OR
X X X
Any Retail Establishment

Product Stored in Locked
Case, in Area Inaccessible to X X
Public

2 packages
containing no 2 packages
3 packages/ 1,440 milligrams/ more than 2 containing E/P as
Quantity Restrictions 7,500 mg/30 days 9 grams/30 days
7 days 24 hours grams of E/P active ingredient/
each/single single transaction
transaction

Source: National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws.

17
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

7,000 Years
2001
Number of Amphetamine Admissions

6,000
2002

5,000 2003
2004
4,000 2005

3,000

2,000

1,000

0
Missouri Iowa Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota

Figure 4. Amphetamine admissions, by Midwest HIDTA state, 2001–2005.
Source: Treatment Episode Data Set.

3,500 States

3,000
Number of Laboratories Seized

MISSOURI

2,500 IOWA

2,000 KANSAS

1,500 NEBRASKA

1,000 SOUTH DAKOTA

500 NORTH DAKOTA

0
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Years

Figure 5. Methamphetamine clandestine laboratory seizures, by Midwest HIDTA state, 2002–2006.
Source: National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System.

18
National Drug Intelligence Center

Sources

Local, State, and Regional
Iowa
Cedar Rapids Police Department
Des Moines Police Department
Intelligence Unit
Vice and Illicit Drugs Unit
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Division of Illicit Drugs Enforcement
Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy
Mid-Iowa Narcotic Enforcement Task Force
Kansas
Abilene Police Department
Butler County Sheriff’s Office
Crawford County Sheriff’s Department
Garden City/Finney County Drug Task Force
Garden City Police Department
Jasper County Drug Task Force
Johnson County Crime Laboratory
Kansas City Police Department
Special Enforcement Unit
Kansas Highway Patrol
Kansas Office of Attorney General
Kansas Bureau of Investigation
Southeast Kansas Drug Task Force
Kearny County Sheriff’s Department
Lawrence Police Department
Lyon County Sheriff’s Office
Miami County Sheriff’s Office
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
Riley County Police Department
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
Wichita Police Department
Gang/Felony Assault Unit

19
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Missouri
Camden County Sheriff’s Department
Christian County Sheriff’s Department
Cole County Sheriff’s Office
Florissant Police Department
Jefferson City Police
Kansas City Police Department
Drug Interdiction Squad
Financial Investigations Unit
Homicide Unit
Kansas City Regional Crime Lab
Street Gang Squad
Street Illicit Drugs Unit
Independence Police Department
Marshall Police Department
Maryland Heights Police Department
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force
Springfield Police Department
St. Charles County Criminalistics Laboratory
St. Louis County Police Department
Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
Criminal Forensics Section
Vice/Illicit Drugs Division
Warrensburg Police Department
Webster Groves Police Department
Nebraska
Bellevue Police Department
Blair Police Department
Chadron Police Department
Columbus Police Department
Elkhorn Police Department
Kearney Police Department
Lincoln Police Department
Nebraska State Patrol
North Platte Police Department
Omaha Metro Drug Task Force

20
National Drug Intelligence Center

Omaha Police Department
Gang Intelligence Squad
Ralston Police Department
Scottsbluff Police Department
Sidney Police Department
North Dakota
Fargo Police Department
Illicit Drugs/Gangs Unit
Grand Forks Illicit Drugs Task Force
Grand Forks Police Department
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation
South Dakota
Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force
Sioux Falls Police Department
Southeast Human Services Center
Adult Addiction Services
Federal
Executive Office of the President
Office of National Drug Control Policy
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Midwest
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Applied Studies
Treatment Episode Data Set
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Border Patrol
U.S. Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Administration
Chicago Field Division
Fargo Resident Office
El Paso Intelligence Center
National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System
St. Louis Field Division
Des Moines Resident Office
Kansas City District Office
Omaha District Office

21
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

Sioux City Resident Office
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Enterprise Squad
Kansas City Field Office
Other
Midwest Gang Investigators Association
Iowa Chapter
National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws

22
National Drug Intelligence Center

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23
Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis

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