Cocaine mixed with occasional fatal substance has recently hit U.S. cities and is steadily increasing output with alarming frequency, say Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) officials and Drug Analyst experts.
Law enforcement officers said the reason for the irreversible tidal wave of cocaine is primarily, in part, due to massive increase of foreign coca planting by Colombian farmers. Colombian farmers ramped up the planting of coca leaves that make cocaine.
And the farmers have joined forces with skilled traffickers to produce and distribute unprecedented amounts of cocaine, cocaine with more potency than what Kingpin Pablo Escobar produced when he ruled the cocaine trade, said DEA officials.
90% Colombian Cocaine
Approximately 90 percent of cocaine seized off the streets today in U.S. cities comes directly from Colombia. After 18 years, with $10 billion spent on Plan Colombia, the U.S.-funded efforts which assisted anti-narcotic operations in Colombia to counter cartels and coca farmers, still the production and distribution of cocaine remain an all-time high.
“Potential pure cocaine production in Colombia has reached the highest levels ever recorded,” DEA Analyst Leah Perle Blomenstein, said in February.
Recent widespread attention focused on astronomical use of opioids and heroin abuse in America while cocaine, the popular nose-candy, has gradually been making a comeback to reclaim its title. And if the spike keeps barreling down the road it is headed, cocaine is poised to become top champion again in the illegal drug arena.
“There are troubling early signs that cocaine use and the availability is on the rise in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade,” the State Department noted last year in its annual report on the Global Narcotic Trade.
“Based on a strong historical correlation between past years initiatives and Colombian cocaine production, it is expected to rise through 2018,” Blomenstein explained.
The surge in cocaine production comes at a dangerous time when cocaine throughout the U.S. has been spiked – with or without a user’s knowledge – with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a potent opioid much stronger than Oxycondone and heroin.
Buzzfeed and Mother Jones authors, in their investigative reports, discovered there’s been a significant increase in overdose deaths attributed to cocaine laced with fentanyl.
According to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, DEA agents said the recovery of 7 percent of cocaine seized in New England in 2017, included fentanyl, was up from 4 percent the previous year in 2016.
DEA further reported in Connecticut, fentanyl-laced cocaine increased 420 percent within the last three years. Massachusetts law enforcement reported an increasing amount of fentanyl-laced cocaine is steadily changing hands on the streets.
Drug Enforcement Administration, in its National Drug Threat Assessment, says “People typically add fentanyl to cocaine for the purpose of ‘speed balling,’ which combines the rush of cocaine with a drug that depresses the nervous system,” such as heroin, the report said.
While many people never heard of the powerful drug fentanyl until the effects of the potent drug killed superstar musician Prince in April 2016, fentanyl overdoses have claimed the lives of “tens of thousands” people.
Joining the nationwide battle to track down dope dealers selling fentanyl-laced powdered cocaine and crack – the Houston Texas police department narcotic squad has gradually seized fentanyl off the streets mixed with cocaine and heroin. Imported from China, fentanyl is so deadly that police are changing the way their officers handle the deadly drug.
“This stuff is really frightening. Nobody really knows what the lethal dose is. It’s only legitimate use is elephant tranquilizer, so the estimates are a lethal dose is 20 micrograms. That would be 20 millionths of a gram,” Dr. Peter Stout, head of Houston Forensic Science Center, announced earlier this year. “So a lethal dose is something so small, you’re not going to see it and what happens is that you stop breathing. As quickly as you suffocate, that’s as quickly as you die.”
While battling the surge of fentanyl, Houston narcotic officers are also tackling a dramatic rise in regular powered cocaine similar to what other cities are experiencing. Prices have skyrocketed as well. A kilo of coke in Houston cost about $28,000.00. Ten years ago a kilo only cost around $14,000.00
“Cocaine is back,” University of Texas drug expert Jane Maxwell, said in a Houston Chronicle article last year.
“I thought it was long gone, but it’s not.”
The top killer of dope users in Houston between 2014-2017 was cocaine, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Documented statistics show the number of cocaine-related deaths in the United States, beginning in 2015 was the highest since 2006 and the second highest since 1999, reported in December 2016, by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
National Survey on drug use and Health also reported an increase of young Americans who confessed to sampling cocaine for the first time resulted in a staggering 61 percent from 2013 to 2015.
This survey further reported, 1 in 20 Americans adults ages 19 to 25, used cocaine in 2015, with the largest percentage concentrated in the Northeast. In New Hampshire, more than 10 percent of young adults used cocaine in 2015, the most recent statistics show.
A news article published in The Guardian said a White House official announced last March coca cultivation in Colombia increased 18 percent in 2016, down from 2015. Government officials estimated 188,000 hectares of Colombian soil is being used for coca crops, the highest since 1994.
Due to this surge in coca cultivation, President Trump threatened to de-certify Colombia as a joint partner in the “war on drugs” unless stricter measures are taken to alleviate the production.
“Cocaine trafficking from Colombia is at record levels,” the State Department stated in a 2017 report. They further warned that “bigger loads of cocaine are on the way.”
Journalist Clarence Walker can be reached at: [email protected]
More stories Involving major cocaine busts, with Colombian cocaine headed for U.S.