Is Drug Trafficking In Texas Increasing?
By: Mark Diaz
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Is Drug Trafficking In Texas Increasing?
Texas shares a 1,000-mile border with Mexico and has a high level of illegal drug activity in this area. Drug trafficking has increased in the United States for years, and more drugs are moving in and out of Texas.
This blog post details some current drug trafficking statistics in the Lone Star State. Also included is information about drug trafficking generally in the state. If you have been accused of a drug crime in Texas, you should speak to a Harris County drug trafficking attorney at Mark Diaz & Associates.
How Is Drug Trafficking Defined in Texas?
Drug trafficking means transporting or distributing illicit drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. You also can be charged with drug trafficking if you illegally sell prescription drugs, including opioids.
Drug trafficking is a form of drug possession. It also is a felony under federal law to engage in drug trafficking.
Drug Possession vs. Drug Trafficking
When Texas law enforcement arrests you and finds illegal drugs on you or in your vehicle, they will probably charge you with drug possession. However, state prosecutors may also look for circumstantial evidence that you planned to traffic the drugs.
For example, if you had many plastic baggies and a scale in your trunk, this could be evidence that you intended to sell the drugs. The consequences for drug possession are much lighter than for drug trafficking. Your criminal defense attorney will try to ensure you are only charged with possession, if possible.
Drug Trends In Texas For 2021
A recent report titled ‘Drug Trends in Texas 2021: A Report To The National Drug Early Warning System’ reveals some of the latest drug trafficking and possession statistics in the state. Some of the top-level findings include:
- Methamphetamine production and use is the most common drug in the four-drug reporting systems. In addition, crimes involving meth continue to rise, which is similar in other states.
- Reports on heroin possession and trafficking also have been rising, but there was a decline in poison center reports.
- Cocaine reports are declining in Texas, but there have been spikes in overdose deaths.
- Marijuana possession and trafficking reports have not risen recently.
- Fentanyl use and trafficking are rising. It is often used to cut heroin, which increases profits. However, fentanyl overdoses leading to severe injury and death are rising.
- Benzodiazepine reports are declining, but there is an increase in alprazolam overdose fatalities.
Methamphetamine: The #1 Drug Trafficking And Possession Threat in Texas
The report stresses that methamphetamine is currently the state’s #1 illegal drug threat. Mexican drug cartels continue to pour large amounts of meth into the state. The report also notes a high drug availability for trafficking, which lowers the price.
Methamphetamine is coming into Texas in ‘ice’ form and also in a form suspended in solution. The drug is trafficked into the United States because the primary ingredient, phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) is against the law in the US. Also, producing meth with P2P requires a lot of skill and experience. The report notes that 98.6% of methamphetamine samples recovered in 2020 were manufactured from P2P.
Over time, the report continues, the types of meth items seized by the police have evolved. In 2005, meth was 21% of all illegal drugs pinpointed by DEA labs. In 2019, meth was 50% of everything the labs tested.
Unfortunately, meth seizures along the southern border are rising as of 2020. The El Paso Intelligence Center states there could be a link between meth and heroin seizures; Mexican crime gangs and drug traffickers are expanding user markets. They also are moving into other illegal drug product lines. This ensures their costs stay low and profits high.
Drug Traffickers Looking To Cocaine And Heroin
The DEA notes in the report that drug traffickers in Mexico are changing from methamphetamine to heroin and cocaine for one reason: Meth prices in the US are low. This allows Mexican traffickers to diversify their product lines and expand in new markets where fewer people take methamphetamine.
There is more availability of liquid methamphetamine and conversion laboratories on the US side of the border. The liquid type of meth is smuggled from Mexico into Texas and turned into crystal form in conversion labs.
Also, meth admissions are rising in Texas. They rose from 3% of all admissions in 1995 to 11% in 2007. They then rose another 22% in 2020. These facts suggest that methamphetamine use and trafficking have soared over the years.
Fentanyl Use And Trafficking Rising
The drug report states that there has been an increase in the use of fentanyl. This is mainly because the drug is used to dilute heroin and increase profits. Unfortunately, cutting heroin with fentanyl can be deadly. Fentanyl mixed with heroin can cause fatal side effects in low doses.
The report also found that cocaine possession and trafficking have declined in the last 20 years. In 2004, 25% of Texas drug admissions involved cocaine. In 2020, it was only 7%.
Drug Trafficking Charges In Texas
As the report above notes, there is a rise in overall illegal drug use and trafficking in Texas. However, sometimes people are wrongly charged with drug trafficking. Drug trafficking in Texas is a serious charge, and if you are suspected of this crime, you should talk to a Harris County criminal defense attorney. The penalties for a drug trafficking conviction in Texas are severe. For example:
- If you are convicted of selling less than one gram of cocaine, meth, or opiates, you can get between six months and two years in jail. In addition, the fine is up to $4,000.
- If you are convicted of selling between 4 and 400 grams of hallucinogens, you can get five to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If you are convicted of selling 28 to 200 grams of prescription drugs, you can get two to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Fight The Charge?
One of the first steps your criminal defense attorney will take to fight your drug trafficking charge is to review how the police gathered the evidence. The police could have violated your Fourth Amendment rights when they conducted the search and seizure of the evidence. If they did not follow the correct procedures, your attorney might be able to suppress the evidence in court.
Also, some drug trafficking arrests happen after a confidential informant offers information to law enforcement. Your drug trafficking defense attorney will review the informant’s statements to determine if they are truthful.
Another possible defense to drug trafficking charges is the drugs belonged to someone else. For example, if the police find an ounce of cocaine in your apartment that you share with someone else, the drugs may belong to the other person.
More Tips To Beat A Texas Drug Trafficking Charge
A drug trafficking charge is a grave situation. But there are ways you can reduce the chances of a conviction:
Hire A Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer Immediately
You should hire an experienced drug trafficking defense lawyer in Harris County immediately. You must retain a lawyer as soon as you can after your arrest. Many legal experts say that the best time to hire your lawyer is after you post bail. If you delay until the indictment, much time has been lost. Also, delaying hiring a lawyer increases the odds that you will say something to the police that hurts your defense.
Evidence disappears as time passes. If you do not gather evidence quickly, it may be harder for your attorney to defend you. For instance, if you face a drug trafficking charge, your attorney will want to have the drugs tested by an independent laboratory to prove they are indeed what the police claim. If you have an alibi, you can forward the information to your lawyer to prove you were in another place when you were arrested.
Question Confidential Informants
Texas law enforcement is often suing confidential informants to secure drug trafficking convictions. However, you have a right under the Sixth Amendment to question those who accuse you of crimes. If you can identify the confidential informant, you have exposed them. The state prosecutor might offer to provide you with a better plea deal for not revealing this information.
Offer Substantial Assistance
If the police have a strong case for drug trafficking, getting the charge dismissed may be challenging, even with an excellent attorney’s help. However, you may be able to offer the police ‘substantial assistance.’ This means providing law enforcement with information that leads to someone else’s arrest in the drug trafficking organization.
Providing substantial assistance is vital to reducing the charges against you. But you should only provide information to the police with your attorney present.
Contact Our Harris County Drug Trafficking Attorney Now
A Texas drug trafficking charge is a huge problem, but now you know what to do if you are charged with this crime. The most important thing to remember is to only talk to the police with an attorney present. Our Harris County drug trafficking lawyers are ready to fight for your legal rights. Please contact Mark Diaz & Associates today at (409) 515-6170.