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Washington Factsheet   PDF  Print  Email 

State Facts

Population: 5,987,973
Law Enforcement Officers: 11,304
State Prison Population: 28,300
Probation Population: 165,711
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 30

Drug Situation: Sharing a border with Canada, Washington is a transshipment point for drugs and monies entering Canada, as well as a Canadian pseudoephedrine, Canadian marijuana (BC Bud), and other drugs entering the United States.

Washington has severe clandestine methamphetamine laboratory problems.

Mexican National poly-drug organizations dominate the drug trade and many have added MDMA as a drug they can now supply.

The greater Yakima Valley is home to large scale poly-drug trafficking organizations responsible for the distribution of drugs throughout the United States.

2004 Federal Drug Seizures

Cocaine: 310.0 kgs.
Heroin: 24.1 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 73.0 kgs.
Marijuana: 8,382.6 kgs.
Ecstasy: 162,661 tablets
Methamphetamine Laboratories: 391 (DEA, state, and local)

Cocaine: Cocaine and crack cocaine are readily available.

Crack cocaine is largely limited to inner city areas.

Cocaine is consumed in the state, and smuggled into Canada for redistribution, where it commands a higher price than in the United States.

According to a recent report issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, up to 24 tons of cocaine enter Canada each year.

BC Bud marijuana from British Columbia, Canada is sold or traded in the United States for cocaine to be sold in Canada.

Heroin: Mexican black tar and brown heroin are the primary types of heroin found throughout Washington.

Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations remain the primary source of black tar heroin in Washington.

Heroin is smuggled from Mexico to Washington by a variety of methods, including vehicles equipped with concealed compartments.

Methamphetamine Lab Seizures: 1999=599, 2000=944, 2001=1,478, 2002=1,433, 2003=894, 2004=391

Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is one of the most widely abused controlled substances in Washington.

Two "varieties" are generally encountered; Mexican methamphetamine, which is either manufactured locally or obtained from sources in Mexico, California, or other Southwest Border States; and methamphetamine which is produced locally by area violators.

Of the two types, Mexican methamphetamine continues to flood the market. Methamphetamine is available in multi-kilogram amounts throughout the state.

Canadian pseudoephedrine utilized in the manufacture of methamphetamine is frequently seized at clandestine laboratory sites.

Washington State continues to see an influx of crystal “ice” methamphetamine.

Club Drugs: MDMA (Ecstasy) is smuggled into the state from elsewhere in the country, Canada, and Europe.

Club drugs are growing in popularity across the state and have been targeted in several successful investigations by the DEA.

Smuggling methods have included MDMA shipped in express mail packages, concealed in lumber, hidden compartments in vehicles, and transported in luggage on international or domestic flights.

Mexican National poly-drug traffickers have become more involved in MDMA trade in Washington.

Marijuana: Marijuana is readily available in multi-pound quantities throughout the state.

Three types are normally encountered: locally grown (either from indoor or outdoor grow operations), Canadian BC Bud from British Columbia, and Mexican marijuana.

Of these varieties, locally grown sinsemilla and BC Bud are preferred because they have a far superior THC content than Mexican grown marijuana.

Canadian BC Bud is the most prevalent variety in many areas given the proximity to the border and the extent of cross border smuggling.

BC Bud marijuana is sold or traded in the United States for cocaine to be sold in Canada.

The arid and warm mountainous areas of Eastern Washington are being utilized by Mexican National organizations to grow multi-thousand plants of marijuana. These large scale marijuana gardens have been found on National Forest land and Native American Tribal lands.

Other Drugs: The primary method of pharmaceutical drug diversion continues to be forgery and telephone prescriptions by non-registrants. Illegal dispensing and prescribing by practitioners still exists in the state.

OxyContin is often the target of criminals involved in burglary and armed robbery.

Sting operations in Washington State have found high school students selling Oxycontin, cocaine, and marijuana.

These drugs were often purchased over the internet.

Drug-Violation Arrests: 1999=637, 2000=790, 2001=601, 2002=607, 2003=498, 2004=901

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 12 MET deployments in the State of Washington since the inception of the program: Puyallup, Everett, Chehalis, Thurston/Yelm, Seattle, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Vancouver, Bremerton, Pierce County, Auburn, and Snohomish.

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 has been one RET deployment in the State of Washington since the inception of the program, in Seattle.

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