Enforcement Officers: 4,856
State Prison Population:
Probation Population: 11,291
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 25
Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 374.0 kgs.
Heroin: 6.1 kgs.
Marijuana: 52,018.0 kgs.
Clandestine Laboratories: 86 (DEA, state, and
Top 4 cities in New MexicoRio Rancho
Drug Addiction and Drug Addiction
Drug Situation: The largest drug
threat in New Mexico is the transshipment of drugs and drug proceeds by Mexican
Drug Trafficking Organizations (MDTOs) that have also established local
polydrug distribution organizations capable of distributing multi-kilogram
quantities locally and regionally. New Mexico shares approximately 150 miles of
common border with the Republic of Mexico. It encompasses over 50,000 square
miles of land but is sparsely populated. Three interstate highways dissect the
state: I-10 and I-40 provide east/west access along the southwest border from
California to the East Coast. I-25 provides north/south access from Las Cruces,
New Mexico to Colorado and Wyoming.
Cocaine is transported through New Mexico by MDTOs at an increasing rate.
Multiple kilogram quantities are routinely seized from commercial trucks,
public transportation and private vehicles. The most common seizures occur when
couriers are interdicted on public transportation with two to three kilograms
of cocaine carried on their body. Cocaine is also readily available for
distribution throughout New Mexico in gram to ounce quantities for local
consumption. Local law enforcement authorities consistently rank cocaine and
crack cocaine distribution and use as their number one drug problem. Crack
cocaine is readily available throughout New Mexico, but is most prevalent in
urban areas. Crack is the drug of choice among a large number seeking drug
rehab centers. The majority of the crack available comes from powder cocaine
supplied by MDTOs to local crack distributors who then convert the powder
cocaine into crack. Ethnic gangs are the primary distributors of crack cocaine
in urban areas. Of special concern is the high level of violence associated
with crack cocaine traffickers.
Heroin: Heroin availability has shown a steady
increase over the past five years as evidenced by the increase in kilogram
seizures and a steady decrease in price. The number of those addicted to heroin
entering addiction treatment centers has steadily increased as well. The
majority of the heroin seized is brown or black tar Mexican heroin. An area
north of Santa Fe known as the Espanola Valley is consistently rated by the
U.S. Department of Health and other statistical reporting agencies as having
the highest per capita heroin overdose death rate in United States. Enforcement
operations have, for a time, significantly disrupted the availability of street
level quantities of heroin in the area and briefly reduced the number of
overdoses and overdose deaths. However, in part because heroin use is socially
and culturally accepted in the area, the heroin issue consistently reappears.
Efforts to establish a demand reduction program in the region have not received
much community support.
Methamphetamine: Meth is available in New Mexico in
multiple kilogram quantities. The majority of meth seized originates in Mexico,
but arrives in New Mexico from distributors in Los Angeles and Phoenix. Meth
investigations are especially prevalent in the area known as the Four Corners
Region where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet and
along the eastern New Mexico/Texas border. Clandestine laboratories are a
significant drug law enforcement issue in New Mexico where the vast majority of
laboratories seized are using the red phosphorus/ephedrine method of
production. Clan laboratories in the state produce small (often less than one
ounce) quantities of the drug for personal use and limited distribution.
However, the laboratories continue to be a serious drain on law enforcement
manpower and resources at all levels. Methamphetamine addiction accounts for a
sizeable percentage of those seeking drug addiction treatment.
Drugs: MDMA (Ecstasy), Ketamine, LSD, and GHB are available in New
Mexico, primarily in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Rave parties are held routinely
in the area, often in remote locations on US Forest Service lands. Attempts to
infiltrate these parties have been moderately successful resulting in several
arrests of low level dealers. Interdiction seizures account the bulk of club
drugs and hallucinogens seized. The majority of these seizures originate in the
LA and Phoenix areas and
are destined for the East.
Marijuana: Marijuana is the most prevalent
drug in New Mexico. Marijuana interdiction seizures make-up approximately 25%
of all cases. Seizures range from a few kilograms to ton quantities. The
majority of all seizures are destined for distribution in eastern markets. The
states vast National Forest land, makes the domestic cultivation of
marijuana an enforcement issue. Domestic cannabis eradication programs have led
to an increase of over 200% in marijuana seizures over the past three years.
The diversion of
prescription drugs continues to be a significant enforcement issue. Illegal or
improper prescription practices are the primary source for illegally obtained
prescription drugs, primarily in the oxycodone/hydrocodone families.
Interdiction efforts also indicate that prescription drug smuggling from
Mexico, where these drugs can be sold over the counter, contributes to the
illegal distribution of prescription medications. Compounding this issue is the
states severe shortage of qualified medical personnel which forces state
authorities to grant prescriptive authority to practitioners not licensed in
other states. New Mexico has recently become one of the few states to grant
prescribing authority to psychologists who have no medical or pharmaceutical
Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement
counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of
drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have
been 348 deployments completed resulting in 14,794 arrests of violent drug
criminals as of June 2002. There have been five MET deployments in New Mexico
since the inception of the program: Clayton, Albuquerque, Portales, Las Vegas,
and Deming. These deployments resulted in 197 arrests and the seizure of 49.6
pounds of cocaine; 8.7 pounds of heroin; 187.7 pounds of marijuana, and .1
pounds of methamphetamine. Also seized were 41 firearms, 27 vehicles, and over
$206,000 in U.S. currency and property.
Special Topics: Currency seizures
indicate that New Mexico is used to return drug proceeds to Mexico and to the
wholesale distributors in Arizona and California. Two areas of concern for
money laundering activities in the state include:
1. Approximately 14
Native American owned and operated casinos that handle billions of dollars in
cash and almost completely unregulated by state and
2. Las Cruces, less than 50 miles from the US/Mexico
border, has over 200 banking facilities, including many
that operate from private residences and are not FDIC insured. Other U.S.
cities with similar demographics averaged only 5 to 10
More Drug Rehab Centers Needed: More drug rehab centers will be
needed as the problem of drug addiction grows. Drug addiction treatment is
necessary to overcome an addiction.