272 Kilos of Cocaine Seized in Guatemala - Came From Colombia and Panama
Friday, April 13 2012 @ 10:57 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Editor's Comment: According to the National Drug Threat Assessment 2011:
- The overall availability of illicit drugs in the United States is increasing. Heroin, marijuana, MDMA, and methamphetamine are readily available, and their availability appears to be increasing in some markets. Cocaine is widely available throughout the country, although at diminished levels since 2007. The availability of other drugs fluctuates at lower levels, as demonstrated by the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones in a number of markets over the past few years.
- Cocaine: The availability of cocaine will remain below pre-2007 levels over the near term. Intercartel fighting and counterdrug activity disrupted traffickers’ ability to move cocaine from South America toward the United States. Decreased cocaine production in Colombia - down 43 percent from a potential 510 pure metric tons in 2006 to 290 pure metric tons in 2009 - coupled with an increase in cocaine smuggling to non-U.S. markets, particularly Europe, has resulted in lower cocaine availability in U.S. markets. NDIC assesses that cocaine production levels will not increase sufficiently in 2011 to return U.S. availability to pre-2007 levels.
- Law enforcement officials in 24 of 51 key U.S. drug markets - primarily those east of the Mississippi River - reported cocaine availability below 2006 levels during the first 6 months of 2010. Investigators in five markets west of the Mississippi reported cocaine availability above 2006 levels during the same period.
- Federal agencies seized at least 30 percent less cocaine in the continental United States in FY2009 and FY2010 than in FY2006 (see Table B3 in Appendix B).
- The price per pure gram of cocaine was 69 percent higher in the third quarter of 2010 than in the first quarter of 2007, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidenceq (STRIDE); cocaine purity was 30 percent lower in the third quarter of 2010 than in the first quarter of 2007 (see Figure 7 on page 25).
- Decreased cocaine availability has resulted in diminished levels of cocaine abuse.
- According to the 2009 NSDUH, the rate of past year cocaine use among respondents aged 12 and older declined from 2.5 percent in 2006 to 1.9 percent in 2009 (see Table B4 in Appendix B). NSDUH data also show that the estimated number of individuals aged 12 and older who initiated cocaine use decreased from 977,000 in 2006 to 617,000 in 2009, the lowest level recorded since 1973.
- MTF data show that the annual prevalence of cocaine use by twelfth graders declined significantly, from 5.1 percent in 2005 to 2.9 percent in 2010, the lowest percentage since 1999. Significant decreases occurred for tenth-grade students from 2005 to 2010 (see Table B5 in Appendix B).
- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated data indicate that the percentage of positive results for cocaine in workplace drug tests in the general workforce has declined steadily since 2006; the figure for the first 6 months of 2010 was the lowest recorded since 1997 (see Figure 8 on page 25).
So, the "drug war" against cocaine is apparently having a positive affect. The street cost of cocaine is going up, purity is dropping, cocaine production in Colombia is dropping, seizures are dropping, as are positive drug tests for cocaine. So, there's less cocaine available in the United States, and fewer people are abusing cocaine. But - the big "so what" in all of this - is when drug users can't get cheap cocaine they just turn to something else, like heroin or methamphetamine.