35 Drug Trafficking Statistics in the U.S.A

Drug trafficking is a major issue in the United States, with illicit drugs being smuggled across the country's borders on a daily basis.

Published On

October 1, 2023

Drug trafficking is a major issue in the United States, with illicit drugs being smuggled across the country's borders on a daily basis. The following statistics provide a glimpse into the scope and impact of drug trafficking in the U.S.A.

Top 10 Key Drug Trafficking Statistics

  1. The U.S. government estimates that drug trafficking generates between $426 billion and $652 billion annually.
  2. In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 70,000 pounds of cocaine and over 37,000 pounds of methamphetamine at the border.
  3. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized 10,163 kilograms of cocaine and 1,004 kilograms of heroin in 2019.
  4. The opioid epidemic has claimed over 450,000 lives in the U.S. since 1999.
  5. Over 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.
  6. In 2019, the DEA seized 2,903 kilograms of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
  7. From 2010 to 2018, the number of fatal overdoses involving fentanyl increased from 1,662 to 31,335.
  8. The U.S. government estimates that over 90% of the heroin sold in the U.S. comes from Mexico.
  9. In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 15,000 pounds of marijuana at the border.
  10. The DEA seized over 4.5 million marijuana plants in 2019.

Drug Trafficking Offences per Drug

  • Cocaine: In 2019, the DEA seized 10,163 kilograms of cocaine and made 5,258 arrests related to cocaine trafficking.
  • Methamphetamine: U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 37,000 pounds of methamphetamine at the border in 2019, and the DEA made 8,554 arrests related to methamphetamine trafficking.
  • Heroin: The DEA seized 1,004 kilograms of heroin in 2019 and made 4,960 arrests related to heroin trafficking.
  • Fentanyl: In 2019, the DEA seized 2,903 kilograms of fentanyl and made 2,737 arrests related to fentanyl trafficking.
  • Marijuana: U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 15,000 pounds of marijuana at the border in 2019, and the DEA seized over 4.5 million marijuana plants that same year.
  • LSD: The DEA made 353 arrests related to LSD trafficking in 2019.
  • Ecstasy/MDMA: The DEA made 398 arrests related to ecstasy/MDMA trafficking in 2019.

These statistics show just how prevalent drug trafficking is in the U.S., with law enforcement agencies seizing large quantities of drugs and making thousands of arrests each year.

Drug Trafficking per State

Drug trafficking is a widespread problem that affects every state in the U.S. Here are eight statistics that highlight drug trafficking trends in different states:

  • California: In 2019, California had the highest number of drug-related arrests in the country, with over 230,000 arrests made. Methamphetamine and cocaine were the most commonly seized drugs.
  • Texas: Texas is a major transit point for drugs smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 42,000 pounds of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin at the Texas border.
  • Florida: Florida is a major hub for drug trafficking organizations due to its proximity to Central and South America. In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 17,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana at Florida's ports of entry.
  • New York: New York City is a major distribution center for drugs smuggled into the country through its ports and airports. In 2019, law enforcement agencies seized over 1 million doses of fentanyl in New York City alone.
  • Ohio: Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic in recent years. In 2018, there were over 3,600 overdose deaths involving opioids in Ohio.
  • Arizona: Arizona shares a long border with Mexico and is a major transit point for drugs smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized over 68,000 pounds of drugs at Arizona's ports of entry.
  • Illinois: Chicago is a major hub for drug trafficking organizations due to its central location within the country and its extensive transportation infrastructure. In 2019, law enforcement agencies seized over $100 million worth of cocaine and heroin in the Chicago area.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has seen a significant increase in drug-related deaths in recent years, with over 4,400 overdose deaths involving opioids in 2018. In 2019, law enforcement agencies seized over $17 million worth of fentanyl and other drugs in Pennsylvania.
  • Georgia: Georgia is a major hub for drug trafficking organizations due to its geographic location and proximity to major ports. In 2019, there were over 1,500 overdose deaths involving opioids in Georgia.
  • Michigan: Michigan's location near the Canadian border makes it a key entry point for drugs smuggled into the U.S. from Canada. In 2019, law enforcement agencies seized over $2 million worth of fentanyl and other drugs in Michigan.
  • North Carolina: North Carolina is a major hub for drug trafficking organizations due to its location and extensive highway system. In 2019, there were over 2,000 overdose deaths involving opioids in North Carolina.

Drug Trafficking Offense Arrest

  • In 2019, there were over 1.5 million drug-related arrests in the U.S., with drug possession being the most common offense.
  • Over 85% of all drug-related arrests in the U.S. are for possession, not trafficking.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, the number of people arrested for marijuana offenses decreased by over 18%.
  • In contrast, the number of people arrested for synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased by over 60% during that same time period.
  • African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately represented in drug-related arrests and convictions, despite similar rates of drug use across racial groups.
  • In 2018, almost half a million people were incarcerated in the U.S. for drug offenses, representing about one quarter of the total prison population.
  • The cost of incarcerating these individuals is staggering: in 2016, states spent over $15 billion on corrections spending related to drug offenses alone.

Drug Trafficking Offenders by Age

  • In 2019, the highest number of drug trafficking offenders were aged between 25-29 years old.
  • Offenders aged between 20-24 years old made up the second-highest number of drug trafficking arrests in 2019.
  • The third-highest number of drug trafficking offenders were aged between 30-34 years old.
  • In 2019, over 11,000 individuals aged under 18 were arrested for drug offenses, including drug trafficking.
  • Individuals aged between 35-39 years old accounted for over 10% of all drug trafficking arrests in 2019.
  • Over 7,000 individuals aged between 40-44 years old were arrested for drug offenses, including drug trafficking, in 2019.
  • Individuals aged between 18-19 years old accounted for over 6% of all drug trafficking arrests in the same year.
  • In contrast, only around 1% of all drug trafficking offenders in 2019 were aged over 60 years old.

Drug Trafficking Offenders by Gender

  • In 2019, males accounted for over 80% of all drug trafficking arrests in the United States.
  • Females made up less than 20% of all drug trafficking arrests in the same year.
  • Among male drug trafficking offenders, those aged between 25-29 years old had the highest number of arrests.
  • For female drug trafficking offenders, those aged between 20-24 years old had the highest number of arrests in 2019.
  • The percentage of male drug trafficking offenders increased with age, with individuals aged between 30-34 years old accounting for over 10% of all male drug trafficking arrests in the same year.
  • Female drug trafficking offenders were more likely to be arrested at a younger age, with individuals aged between 18-19 years old accounting for over 6% of all female drug trafficking arrests in 2019.
  • Only around 1% of both male and female drug trafficking offenders were aged over 60 years old in the same year.

Conclusion

These statistics highlight the scope and impact of drug trafficking in the U.S.A. It's clear that drug trafficking is a major problem that affects millions of Americans every year. By understanding the scale of the problem, we can work towards finding solutions to reduce drug trafficking and its devastating consequences.

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