October 11, 2007
The laws of supply and demand govern illegal drugs as well as legally traded commodities. And if the current street price and purity of cocaine are good indicators of its availability, it is in short supply in the United States.
A gram of pure cocaine in the United States cost an average of $118.70 in the second quarter, up 24% from the $95.89 reported in the first quarter.
National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) data from over 6,000 cocaine seizures from January-June 2007, showed that the drug's purity also fell from 56- 53%.
Authorities in 37 US cities have reported decreased cocaine availability.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon's large-scale deployment of soldiers and federal police in border areas has reduced the flow of narcotics into the United States. The arrests of the chiefs of the Tijuana and Gulf cartels have also disrupted the ability to operate of major Mexican drug trafficking organisations. There is reward in store for Calderon. John Walters, the White House drug tsar, said the Bush administration was seeking an aid package worth hundreds of millions of dollars to help Mexico fight drugs.
There has never been a disruption to cocaine supply of this magnitude for this long. Yet strategic challenges remain:
More and more of the cocaine originating from Colombia is remaining in Mexico and Central America, where addiction has risen steadily over the last decade.
The border will continue to be a hotbed of violence.
Precedent shows that strong cooperation between Mexico and Washington is the best way to keep cocaine supply low. The dismantling of the 'French Connection' heroin racket in the early 1970s demonstrated that international trafficking networks are best disabled by the combined efforts of drug enforcement agencies from multiple countries. Since any aid package would not allow US troops to operate on Mexican soil it will make the drugs war more difficult to coordinate.
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Cocaine is in short supply in the United States.
Posted by Naxal Watch at 12:11 PM