South Dakota has seen an increase in drug smuggling in the past 2 decades. All types of illicit drugs are available in the state but methamphetamine use has been on an exponential increase. Recent seizures indicate that the methamphetamine market has infiltrated into a newer younger generation of users including college students and females. The majority of the drug trade in the state is controlled by the Mexican drug cartels. The large rural area of South Dakota has also been associated with an increase in the cultivation of marijuana. The majority of drugs are smuggled in via the interstate in automobiles, vans and campers. Despite being a low key state, money laundering has become a major issue in the past decade.
Cocaine is readily available throughout all parts of South Dakota. The majority of cocaine is smuggled in from the southern states and Chicago, Georgia, Florida and Texas. The cocaine is converted to crack cocaine and sold on the street. Almost all the inner cities have had their fair share of cocaine addicts but the numbers have remained stable over the past decade. Associated with cocaine drug trade have been street gangs, violence, crime, thefts and inner city poverty.
Heroin use has steadily been declining over the past 2 decades. Despite the increasing purity, low price and availability, the drug has seen a significant decrease in use. Small amounts of heroin are available in the major inner cities but most of rural South Dakota has been heroin free. The small amounts are routinely smuggled in the by the migrant workers.
The use and trafficking of methamphetamine continues to increase in South Dakota and the drug is available in all parts of the state. The majority of methamphetamine is smuggled in by the Mexican drug cartels that then use the migrant workers to help distribute it across the state. The major source of methamphetamine is from Chicago, NE, Florida, Texas, California and Colorado.
Over the years, numerous clandestine laboratories have been discovered which manufacture methamphetamine. These unsophisticated laboratories use impure and unrefined chemicals. The recent law banning the use of ephedrine has all but stopped these laboratories from manufacturing methamphetamine. The methamphetamine trade is an at all time high and associated with this has been street gangs, violence, crime thefts and inner city poverty.
There has been a major increase in the use of club drugs in the state of South Dakota. 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 Asian 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 prescription 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 South Dakota 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.
Marijuana is readily available throughout South Dakota. The majority of the drug is smuggled in from the southern states. Marijuana is smuggled in large amounts in cars, vans, campers and trucks all of which have hidden compartments. In addition, the large rural area of South Dakota has also been used to grow marijuana. Marijuana is cultivated both indoors and outdoors in both private and public property. The locally made marijuana is more potent and pure than the Mexican variety and is increasingly being shipped across into Colorado and Illinois. In addition, the most potent form of marijuana, called BC Bud, is smuggled in from Canada.
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. Interstate 90 runs east to west through the state of South Dakota and has become a more significant transportation route for drug trafficking organizations. During 2004, highway monitoring in South Dakota led to seizures of thousands of pounds of illicit drugs and cash money.