Drug trafficking in Minnesota is primarily controlled by the Mexican drug cartels. All types of illicit drugs are available in the state including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and small amounts of black-tar heroin. Over the years, the establishment of street gangs has resulted in gang related violence, crime, thefts, prostitution and inner city poverty
Cocaine is readily available throughout Minnesota. Recent law enforcement data indicates that the cocaine abuse has remained steady for the past decade. However, cocaine is widely available in all the major inner cities. It is primarily smuggled in via automobile, trucks and campers. US parcel post is another method of transfer. The majority of cocaine comes in from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Florida and Texas. The drug trade is basically controlled by the drug cartels. Once cocaine reaches the state, it is converted into crack cocaine and distributed by street gangs. An associated problem with cocaine trafficking has been a large increase in gang related violence, crime, thefts and prostitution.
At the retail level, independent street gangs specifically the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords, Crips, the Latin Kings, Native American groups and independent Caucasian groups purchase cocaine from Mexican traffickers and distribute it throughout Minnesota.
Mexican heroin is occasionally available in the state and Government data indicates that its use has in fact been declining over the past decade. The majority of heroin available in the state is from Mexico. The drug is smuggled in from Mexico via automobiles, trucks and campers all with hidden compartments. Despite the increased purity and decreased price, the heroin abuse has stabilized in the state. However, hospital emergencies continue to report a significant number of medically related problems associated with heroin abuse.
At the wholesale level, sources of supply include Nigerian and West African traffickers operating from Chicago and New York, 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 street gangs.
Methamphetamine has become a drug of concern in the state and its abuse has increased significantly over the past 2 decades. The drug is available in all counties and is abused by all ethnic groups. The major source of methamphetamine is Mexico and Columbia. The drug is smuggled in from the South chiefly in automobiles.
Despite the ban on precursor chemicals, law enforcement continues to encounter clandestine laboratories all over the state however; clandestine laboratories have declined since the Government banned the availability of ephedrine. A major hazard with these unsophisticated laboratories includes environmental pollution and fire hazard. The very lucrative methamphetamine trade ($15-20,000 per pound) has led to the establishment of several violent drug cartels who are not shy of using violence and extortion to expand their drug trade.
There has been a major increase in the use of club drugs in the state of Minnesota. All types of club drugs including MDMA, GHB, PCP, LSD and ketamine are available at night parties and rave parties. The majority of colleges and universities have a moderate supply of club drugs. The majority of club drugs are smuggled in from New York, Canada, California and Texas. The club drug trade is basically controlled by gangs. Recent seizures indicate the drugs are increasingly being smuggled in via the US parcel post services. . 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.
Marijuana is readily available throughout Minnesota, usually in combination with cocaine and methamphetamine. Marijuana ranks as the second most commonly abused drug among teenagers. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from Arizona, Texas, California, New York and Florida. The wholesale drug trade is controlled by the drug cartels. Marijuana is usually smuggled in by automobiles, trucks and campers. Recent drug seizures indicate that a large amount of locally home grown marijuana is cultivated throughout the state. The large farming area has made it difficult to detect the growers. Indoor marijuana plots have been found in most of rural Minnesota. Higher purity Marijuana is also frequently smuggled in from Canada.
The abuse of pharmaceutical drugs continues to rise at an exponential rate. The most commonly abused pharmaceutical drugs include oxycontin, hydrocodone, methadone, diazepam, Lortab and Xanax. Oxycontin continues the number one prescription drug abused in the state. These drugs are primarily obtained via prescription forgeries, “doctor shopping”, pharmacy break INS and via the internet. Some of the pharmaceutical drugs are brought into Minnesota from Mexico and Southwestern Border cities. Numerous pain management clinics have opened in every major city in the State and pose an enormous threat to the communities. These pain management clinics do injustice to patients by continually prescribing narcotics to addicts. Recent seizures indicate that Klonopin is more readily available than in the past from illegal sources and prescriptions are easily obtained from some doctors.
To counteract the drug problem DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams have been established in response to the overwhelming problem of drug related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. In addition, DEA Regional Enforcement Teams have been developed to augment existing DEA pision resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. The DEA Chicago Field pision has established a task force to combat escalating gang violence in the state and it operates six regional offices. Currently, there are over 5,000 confirmed gang members that have entered into the Minnesota Gang Strike Force Intelligence System and 160 organized gangs.