The state of New Jersey is located at the cross roads of two major states New York and Pennsylvania, and has been referred to as the “crossroads of the east.” It is also a gateway state linked with major interstate highways, airports, seaports, and other financial banking corporations. The ideal location of New Jersey is capable of accepting ample amounts of national and international passenger and cargo traffic. New Jersey is a perfect strategic passageway as well as a vulnerable passage for transportation of illicit drugs and money.
In 2006, the high increase in fatal and non-fatal overdoes linked to Fentanyl helped establish an Intelligence Gathering Initiative, “OPERATION UNDERTAKER.” Operation UNDERTAKER was established to identify areas of drug abuse. This program brought in more awareness of the drug situation in the State.
Cocaine remains the most popular drug abused in New Jersey. Crack cocaine remains readily available throughout the state and is the drug of choice for the lower income and socially deprived inpiduals. New Jersey is a major pipeline for international cocaine trafficking organizations. Cocaine is easily smuggled into New Jersey ports from South America and Mexico. Other routes of smuggling are the complex and multitude of interstates from all over the North East.
Colombian and Dominican trafficking organizations dominate the cocaine drug trade at the wholesale level. At the street level, these drug traffickers have integrated with various gangs who help distribute the drug. Because of the less scrutiny by New Jersey law enforcement officials, many New York based drug cartels routinely store their illicit drugs in New Jersey. From New Jersey, the drug is smuggled into most major cities in America.
Heroin is mainly smuggled in from Colombia and represents the most significant narcotic problem in New Jersey. The problem is highlighted by the numerous medical emergency admissions that these addicts require. Because of the high quality of heroin and low price, it is one of the most abused drugs in the State. Despite the presence of contaminants and the lack of a pure product, it continues to be a major drug of abuse.
Over the years, heroin from both South America and Asia has become easily available in New Jersey. Recent seizures indicate that the bulk of heroin is from the Caribbean and surrounding islands. The majority of heroin from South America is smuggled in via the sea and the air. The large busy airport and the use of private planes has made it easy for smugglers to bring in heroin. Once the heroin is brought in to the State, it is readily repackaged and shipped both across and out of state using couriers.
Methamphetamine is the most available and widely used drug in New Jersey. Methamphetamine is either smuggled in from the Southern USA or made locally. The majority of methamphetamine is smuggled in via automobiles, trucks and campers from the South.
Locally manufactured methamphetamine is only on a small scale because of the lack of availability of precursor chemicals. However, clandestine laboratories are located across the state and are hard to detect. In addition, these laboratories present hazards such as toxic waste, environmental pollution and there is always the risk of fire. Once the drug is brought into the state, the drug is distributed by various ethnic groups including motorcycle and street gangs who are extremely territorial and also not shy about using violence and extortion.
Despite aggressive law enforcement polices, methamphetamine use continues to be a problem in all urban cities in New Jersey.
The majority of pharmaceutical companies are located in New Jersey and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs is widely prevalent in the state. The majority obtain their drugs via doctor shopping, prescription forgery, pharmacy break-ins, and via the internet. The most commonly abused pharmaceuticals are Percocet, OxyContin, Xanax, Vicodin, and Hydrocodone. Because of the lucrative trade, many drugs are also smuggled in from Canada and México. However, recently fake pills from México have also entered this market.
Marijuana is the most readily available illicit drug in New Jersey. Marijuana is transported to New Jersey via automobiles, tractor trailers, cargo vessels, US Postal Service and commercial air from Southwest and Mexico. The majority of the marijuana encountered in the State is of Mexican origin. Marijuana from Canada and Jamaica has also been encountered, on a lesser scale. Additionally, marijuana is also produced locally at indoor and outdoor grows.
Various smuggling techniques have been utilized by organizations in an attempt to prevent law enforcement detection. Most of the marijuana seizures in the state have occurred at the Newark Airport. Other seizures have occurred at the post services. No single ethnic group controls the wholesale distribution of marijuana within the State. Retail dealers on the street either belong to some gangs or are of the same ethnic origin as the whole sale dealers.
Indoor marijuana cultivation is usually encountered in the southern, rural areas of the state, where the opportunity of detection is low. However, over the past year, several indoor marijuana grows have been discovered and traffickers arrested.
DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams were 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. This program was conceived in 1999 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.
Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey has been dedicated to making New Jersey a leader in drug policy reform. New Jersey’s rigid, ineffective and counterproductive drug policies have caused more harm and wasted taxpayer money when it comes to drug addicts. Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey advocates for useful drug policies based on facts, science, compassion, health and human rights.
Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey’s has successfully enabled a law which allows municipalities to establish syringe access programs! The passage of this law is a major victory in the fight against HIV and hepatitis C. Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey continues working for expanded municipal access and access through non-prescription sale of syringes in pharmacies.
Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey has launched the Compassionate Use Campaign in 2006 to advocate for legislation that would allow seriously ill patients in New Jersey to have access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
New Jersey has the highest proportion of drug offenders as part of the overall prison population. Disproportionate rates of incarceration for African Americans and Latinos for drug offenses have broken up communities and families. While other states have successfully implemented sentencing alternatives, such as Proposition 36 in California, New Jersey has yet to act to seriously address these inhuman disparities and injustices.
One of the most severe penalties of drug conviction in New Jersey was the loss of a driver’s license, no matter how trivial the drug offense. Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey has recently enabled legislation that would give judges discretion not to revoke driver's licenses in compelling circumstances, such as needing a license to get to work or drug treatment. Last year, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly passed this important legislation.