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Colorado Factsheet   PDF  Print  Email 

State Facts

Population: 4,417,714
Law Enforcement Officers: 11,807
State Prison Population: 28,800
Probation Population: 55,218
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 27

Drug Situation: Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations control most of the methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin distribution in Colorado.

The majority of club drug distribution is conducted by independent traffickers and loosely-knit organizations with various sources of supply, both overseas and within the United States.

Street gangs with ties to larger criminal organizations in Texas, California, and Mexico are involved in all types of drug distribution throughout the state.

2004 Federal Drug Seizures

Cocaine: 36.0 kgs.
Heroin: 4.6 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 28.8 kgs.
Marijuana: 774.6 kgs.
Ecstasy: 0 tablets
Methamphetamine Laboratories: 144 (DEA, state, and local)

Cocaine: Enforcement activities reflect a steady supply of cocaine coming into and through Colorado.

Cocaine trafficking organizations with sources of supply in Mexico or along the Southwest Border often deal in multi-kilogram amounts.

Crack is available in the larger metropolitan areas of Colorado, generally in street level amounts.

Heroin: Mexican black tar heroin is the predominant type of heroin found in Colorado and is available in the major metropolitan areas of Colorado. Mexican brown heroin is also found to a lesser degree.

Various law enforcement and treatment indicators suggest that heroin availability and use may be on the rise in Colorado.

Methamphetamine Lab Seizures: 2000=142, 2001=240, 2002=453, 2003=345, 2004=144

Methamphetamine: Most of the methamphetamine available in Colorado originates in Mexico or comes from large-scale laboratories in California.

In recent years, the potency of methamphetamine produced in Mexico has risen to levels comparable to that made in smaller, local clandestine laboratories. Clandestine laboratories are problematic to law enforcement in Colorado, due more to the public safety and environmental issues they present than the volume of methamphetamine they produce.

The ephedrine/pseudoephedrine reduction method is the primary means of manufacturing methamphetamine in Colorado.

Most clandestine laboratory operators are able to secure precursor chemicals from legitimate businesses such as discount stores, drug stores, chemical supply companies, and agricultural supply stores.

Club Drugs: The category of substances known as “club drugs” is most often associated with nightclubs and private parties.

DEA investigations indicate that violence, pornography, and prostitution often play key roles in club drug trafficking and abuse.

MDMA generally is distributed by independent traffickers or loosely-knit organizations with both domestic and foreign sources of supply.

LSD, Ketamine, and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) are also distributed and used in the nightclub scene.

Marijuana: Marijuana is available throughout Colorado, and is the most widely abused drug in the state.

The most abundant supply of marijuana is Mexican-grown and is brought into and through Colorado by poly-drug trafficking organizations.

The highly potent form of marijuana known as “BC Bud” is significantly more expensive, and is smuggled from British Columbia, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest.

Colorado’s Amendment 20, which took effect June 1, 2001, allows for the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana for sick and dying patients. It provides protection against prosecution under state law, which is where the majority of marijuana small-use and possession cases occur.

Other Drugs: Pharmaceutical opiates/opioids are the drugs of choice among drug abusing medical professionals in Colorado.

Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and Darvocet are the two controlled substances most commonly abused, with various forms of prescription fraud and retail diversion being the methods for obtaining them.

The diversion and abuse of OxyContin (oxycodone) is a significant problem in Colorado.

Drug-Violation Arrests: 2000=714, 2001=453, 2002=304, 2003=329, 2004=346

DEA Mobile 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.

Since the inception of the MET Program, a total of 436 deployments have been completed nationwide, resulting in 18,318 arrests.

There have been 19 Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) deployments in the State of Colorado since the inception of the program: Lakewood, Durango, Edgewater, Avon, Eagle/Garfield Counties, Pueblo (2), La Plata County, Longmont, El Paso County, Englewood, Jefferson County (2), San Luis Valley, Adams County, and four separate deployments in Denver.

DEA Regional Enforcement Teams: This program was designed to augment existing DEA division resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement.

This Program was conceived in 1999 in response to the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations that have established networks of cells to conduct drug trafficking operations in smaller, non-traditional trafficking locations in the United States.

As of January 31, 2005, there have been 27 deployments nationwide, and one deployment in the U.S. Virgin Islands, resulting in 671 arrests. There have been no RET deployments in the State of Colorado.

Other Enforcement Operations: A 2003 Denver MET deployment, which assisted a local task force in the investigation of a Denver area Mexican methamphetamine trafficking organization, resulted in the arrests of 21 individuals and the seizure of 9 pounds of methamphetamine.

The methamphetamine seized and purchased through undercover buys was consistently in excess of 90 percent pure.

Special Topics: In 1996, a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) was designated in Colorado and is comprised of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Jefferson, LaPlata, Larimer, Pueblo, Mesa, Moffat, Routt, and Weld counties.

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