Despite Maine being located far in the NE it has not been immune from drug traffickers. Interstate 95, “The New England Pipeline,” remains a major transit zone because it intersects the interior of the state, connects several larger cities, and terminates at the Canadian border. This major interstate and its numerous connections have been used to the maximum by drug smugglers. The Interstate provides an important north-south connection route for traffickers.
The use of drugs and availability of cocaine, heroin, and pharmaceutical drugs continues to increase in the State. Drug trafficking remains a significant problem because Maine’s shoreline offers ample opportunities for maritime smugglers.
Cocaine is available throughout the state in various sizes, ranging from one ounce buttons to brick size kilogram. The primary users have been the native residents of Maine. Most of the powder cocaine is converted to crack cocaine, which is easier to manage and use. The cocaine is brought into Maine by the smugglers via the busy interstate in hidden automobile compartments. Because of the strict Maine laws regarding drug possession, most Maine residents buy their cocaine from outside state lines.
The Dominican cartels control the heroin trade in the state of Maine. The heroin is primarily smuggled in from Mexico and South America. These distributors typically transport the drug in passenger vehicles. Over the years, heroin has become a drug frequently used in the rural areas and much less so in the major cities.
Methamphetamine was not a major issue in the state until now. Sporadic outbreaks of methamphetamine laboratories have been identified but most of the methamphetamine produced from these local clandestine laboratories is for personal use. Large scale amphetamine is brought in by automobiles, motorcycle gangs and shipped in via the US postal system.
The law enforcement agencies are vigilant for drug traffickers because Maine’s size and predominantly rural population create an ideal environment for large-scale methamphetamine manufacturing.
Methamphetamine is also smuggled in via the Dominican and Mexican organizations. Once in the state, the drug is distributed by motor cycle gangs.
Over the last decade, club drugs have slowly increased in the State. The major club drug abused is MDMA ( ecstasy), which continues to be associated with rave parties and college students. The majority of club drugs are smuggled in from New York and Massachusetts. Clubs drugs are frequently abused by college students. PCP, LSD, GHB, ketamine, and MDMA are all available at night clubs and rave parties. The distribution is generally done by local inpiduals and street gangs.
Marijuana has always been the most popular illicit drug in the State of Maine. Marijuana is both locally grown and imported from Canada, New York and Massachusetts. It is the number one drug of abuse in the State. Because of the weather and large forest land, locally produced marijuana plots are found throughout the State. The crops can be grown year around and have a better quality compared to the imported variety. In addition to the local grown product, the more potent and pure form of marijuana, known as BC Bud, is also smuggled in from Canada.
Marijuana is also smuggled in from other states in the NE. Most of this is smuggled in trucks, campers and automobiles. Unlike other states, the marijuana trafficking is under control of motorcycle gangs.
Current investigations indicate that pharmaceutical drugs like OxyContin continue to be highly abused in Maine. Other related products abused include hydrocodone, benzodiazepines, Percocet, dilaudid, Viagra, methadone and Vicodin. The primary methods of obtaining these drugs are through pharmacy thefts, doctor shopping via the internet and falsified prescriptions. perted Canadian pharmaceuticals also are being smuggled into Maine.
To counter the drug problem DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams were conceived in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. In addition, DEA Regional Enforcement Teams were developed to augment existing DEA pision resources in response to the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations that have established networks of cells to conduct drug-trafficking operations in smaller, non-traditional trafficking locations in the United States.
Maine has a number of severe laws related to marijuana possession, cultivation, trafficking, medical use, paraphernalia, illegal importation, and asset forfeiture. Maine has some of the most stringent drug laws it is for this reason that Maine residents usually obtain their illicit drugs from out of state. Unlike other States, the penalties for drug possession and drug abuse are harsh and the legislators still believe incarceration is the only way to treat these inpiduals.
However, Maine does allow patients to use medical marijuana if they have specified medical conditions and the advice of a physician specifically referring to marijuana.