The majority of the illicit drug trade in Missouri is controlled by the Mexican poly drug trafficking organizations. All types of illicit drugs are available in the State and include methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Various organizations with ties to Texas, Arizona and California continue to traffic in cocaine and heroin. In addition, small toxic methamphetamine laboratories are found in all areas of Missouri.
Cocaine is readily available throughout Missouri. 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 primary 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, Las 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.
Mexican heroin is occasionally available in the state and Government data indicates that its use has in fact been increasing over the past decade. The majority of heroin available in the state is from Mexico but with the recent arrival of Asians, the SE variety has also been seen on the streets. The drug is smuggled in from Mexico via automobiles, trucks and campers all with hidden compartments. The increased purity and decreased price has led to an increase in heroin abuse. Hospital emergencies continue to report a significant number of medically related problems associated with heroin abuse.
Methamphetamine has become a drug of concern in the state and Methamphetamine 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. Recently the large influx of Hispanic migrants has helped with the distribution of the drug.
Despite the ban on precursor chemicals, law enforcement continues to encounter clandestine laboratories however; clandestine laboratories have declined all over the state 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 and creating the need for better drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Marijuana is readily available throughout Missouri, usually in combination with cocaine and/or methamphetamine. Marijuana ranks as the second most commonly abused drug among teenagers. The majority of marijuana is smuggled in from Arizona, Texas, California, NY and Florida. The wholesale drug trade is controlled by the drug cartels. The marijuana is usually smuggled in automobile, 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 Missouri. Higher purity Marijuana is also frequently smuggled in from Canada.
There has been a major increase in the use of club drugs in the state of Missouri. 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
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 addiction continues the number one prescription drug abuse 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 Missouri 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.
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.
Recently The St. Louis Homicide Initiative was created by DEA St. Louis to address and combat the city's increase in drug related homicides. The objectives of this initiative are to identify violent organizations involved in drug trafficking activity and to develop investigative leads by use of court authorized telephone intercepts to clear unsolved homicides and related crimes.