West Virginia is a state with large rural areas, mountains and an expanse of highways. This ideal geographical location has become a heaven for drug traffickers. Despite being a moderately poor state, the use of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are on the increase. Almost all types of club and pharmaceutical drugs are abused by the younger generation of addicts. The illicit drugs are smuggled in from Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Washington and Chicago. Associated with the illicit drug trade has been a corresponding rise in gang violence, crime, and money laundering.
Cocaine is widely available in West Virginia. It is a widely abused drug in most inner cities and towns. The cocaine is smuggled in from New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. Once the cocaine is brought in, it is converted into crack cocaine and sold on the street. The major cocaine trade is controlled by the drug cartels. The large migrant population is also involved in the local distribution of cocaine.
Heroin is not a widely drug abused in West Virginia. Despite the decrease in cost and good purity, there are less users of heroin even in the inner cities. The majority is black tar heroin and it is smuggled in from Mexico. The heroin is sold in the inner cities by local gangs. The majority of heroin is brought in private cars and vans.
Both locally manufactured and smuggled methamphetamine is available in the state. Over the past decade, locally manufactured methamphetamine was produced by numerous clandestine laboratories located all over the state. The new laws which prevented the sale of ephedrine, quickly led to a demise of these laboratories. Locally manufactured amphetamine has been all but eradicated. The smuggled in variety accounts for the major illicit drug market. Methamphetamine is smuggled in from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Florida and even as far as Texas. The large rural area and sparse population has led to a difficulty in law enforcement of smuggled methamphetamine.
The use of club drugs is on the increase in West Virginia. MDMA ( Ecstasy) is the most commonly abused club drugs. The abuse of these drugs is mainly at colleges and universities. Recent seizures indicate that the spread of club drugs is affecting younger teenagers. After MDMA, GHB and LSD are also abused but in much smaller amounts. 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 majority of club drugs are smuggled in from New York, Canada, California and Texas.
Both locally and smuggled marijuana are highly abused in West Virginia. Although one of the poorest states in the nation, it ranks as one of the top growers of marijuana in the Nation. The mountainous region, increasing rural area and vast forest land have led the drug trafficker to cultivate marijuana in hard to detect places. West Virginia supplies the entire state with its home grown marijuana. However, Mexican and Canadian marijuana are still prevalent and continue to be smuggled in large quantities. The state has established numerous agencies whose sole job is eradication of marijuana plots.
The abuse of pharmaceutical drugs continues to rise at an exponential rate in West Virginia. The most commonly abused prescription drugs include oxycontin, hydrocodone, methadone, diazepam, Lortab and Xanax. Oxycontin continues the number one prescription drug abusee 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 in from Iowa, 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. West Virginia leads the nation in methadone-related deaths per capital, and has the fastest growing rate of methadone overdoses.
Associated with drug trafficking is money laundering. Cash intensive businesses, such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs, shipping industry, casinos and tourism have all at some time been exposed to “drug” money. The legislature has endorsed laws to monitor all financial exchanges and banks are required by law to notify authorities of large transfer of money.
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