U.S. Cocaine Market Disrupted Prices Continue 21-month Surge
DEC 11 -- (Washington, DC)-The prices of cocaine and methamphetamine in the United States have risen significantly over the past 21 months, while purity of the drugs has decreased, according to continued analysis of cocaine and methamphetamine seizures by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
From January 2007 to September 2008, the price per pure gram of cocaine increased 89 percent, from $96.61 to $182.73, while purity decreased 32.1 percent, from 67 to 46 percent. During the same timeframe, the price per pure gram of methamphetamine increased over 23 percent, from $148.91 to $184.09, while the purity decreased 8.3 percent, from 57 percent to 52 percent.
“For almost two years the illicit drug market has been showing signs of distress,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “These price and purity trends are not just an immediate reaction from a single enforcement operation, but the result of continuous and persistent progress DEA is making in concert with our international and domestic partners. Across the United States, Mexico, and Colombia and the transit zones in between, we are crippling the world’s leading drug networks, and these prolonged trends confirm that we have disrupted the illicit drug supply chain and U.S. market for cocaine and meth.”
These positive numbers illustrate the effectiveness of DEA’s collaborative efforts with Mexico and Colombia, working hand in hand to cripple drug cartels by depriving them of their profits. Since assuming office two years ago in Mexico, President Calderon has taken on corruption and drug trafficking at every level, and has ordered the extradition of unprecedented numbers of drug criminals to the United States from each of the four major cartels. Simultaneously, Colombian President Uribe has taken on the FARC and AUC at unprecedented levels, expelling AUC leaders and taking the fight to the FARC.
"These successes illustrate the unprecedented cooperation we enjoy with Mexico and the United States in battling against international drug trafficking and violence. We cannot battle these sophisticated drug organizations without the collaborative efforts of Colombian, Mexican and U.S. law enforcement and the sharing of information and resources. As a result of this increased success, we have seen more seizures, more arrests, and more extraditions of drug criminals than ever before,” said Colombia Vice Minister of Defense Sergio Jaramillo Caro.
"The Mexican government has emphasized the significance of downgrading the drug traffickers' ability to generate income by targeting not only their command and control structure, but additionally their logistics for smuggling drugs, cash and weaponry,” said Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina-Mora. “With less money available to corrupt or intimidate authorities and their communities, drug traffickers will eventually revert back into a law enforcement problem, dealt with by regular police forces as opposed to being the threat they currently are to Mexico's national security. Mexico is committed to this struggle, and maintains a mutually beneficial cooperation with law enforcement institutions from other nations -- particularly in the U.S. -- to combat drug traffickers’ activities with the ultimate goal of eradicating their pernicious and illegal trade."
DEA/MEXICO/COLOMBIA RECENT SUCCESSES
The continued analysis highlights the momentum created by the efforts among DEA, its U.S. law enforcement partners, Mexico, and Colombia. Just recently, DEA and Mexican law enforcement worked together to arrest Eduardo Arellano-Felix, one of Mexico’s biggest drug trafficking criminals and a leader of the Tijuana Cartel. Last year, DEA and Mexico teamed up to make the world’s largest cash seizure exceeding $207 million, and Mexico made the largest-ever cocaine seizure of 23.6 metric tons.
In addition, in September 2008, DEA led Project Reckoning that resulted in the arrests of over 600 individuals and seizure of over $70 million dollars from the notorious Gulf Cartel. The Gulf Cartel is alleged to be responsible for much of the violence that is currently occurring in Mexico.
DEA has worked with Colombia to dismantle the major Colombian Cartels, to include the Norte Valle Cartel; with the arrests of Diego Montoya Sanchez and Juan Ramirez Abadia. Abadia was indicted in the United States in 2004, after being arrested in Brazil in August 2007, and extradited to the United States in August 2008. Sanchez was arrested in Colombia in September 2007 and is currently awaiting extradition to the United States.
Colombian officials also arrested Otto Herrera-Garcia, a longtime Guatemalan drug trafficker and one of the most important targets in Central America. Herrera-Garcia is awaiting extradition to the United States after being arrested in Colombia in June 2007.
A top AUC leader, Diego Fernando Murillo-Bejarano (a.k.a. Don Berna), was indicted in the U.S. in 2004, and surrendered to Colombian authorities in May 2005. He was extradited to the United States in May 2008 and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in June. His sentencing is December 18, 2008.
FARC Commander Juan Jose Martinez Vega was arrested by Venezuelan police in May 2005 and immediately extradited to Colombia. In March 2006, he was indicted in the United States, and extradited here in April 2008, where he currently awaits trial.
The STRIDE (System to Retrieve Information From Drug Evidence) study conducted by DEA analyzed drug seizures and undercover purchases from April 2005 to September 2008. The study analyzed nearly 58,000 meth seizures and purchases, and over 24,000 cocaine seizures and purchases.
The data can be accessed at http://www.dea.gov
STRIDE is a database of drug exhibits sent to DEA laboratories from DEA, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard, and the Washington Metro Police Department. STRIDE is not a representative sample of drugs available in the United States, but reflects all evidence submitted to DEA labs for analysis, and the data is not collected to reflect national market trends. However, STRIDE data reflect the best information currently available on changes in cocaine and meth prices and purity.