Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

DEA Releases 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment

"MX" for Borderland Beat; TY to "shooter1129"

Note to readers: To view the entire 100-page report, please use this hyperlink.

Front page of the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

WASHINGTON – DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans announced the release of the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, DEA’s annual publication outlining the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs.

“This year’s report shows the harsh reality of the drug threats facing communities across the United States,” said Acting Administrator Evans. “While the COVID-19 pandemic plagues this nation, so, too, do transnational criminal organizations and violent street gangs, adjusting to pandemic restrictions to flood our communities with dangerous drugs. DEA and our local, state, and federal partners continue to adapt to the ever changing landscape, remaining focused on the current threats and looking to the horizon for emerging threats. We will always defend the American people against illicit substances that ruin lives, devastate families, and destroy communities.”

Drugs trends in the United States continue to evolve. While fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China have decreased substantially following the DEA’s 2018 emergency scheduling action of fentanyl related substances and China’s enactment of fentanyl-class controls in May 2019, the opioid threat remains at epidemic levels, affecting large portions of the country. Meanwhile, the stimulant threat, including methamphetamine and cocaine, is worsening both in volume and reach, with traffickers selling increasing amounts outside of traditional markets.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 83,000 people lost their lives to drug-related overdoses in the twelve-month period ending in July of 2020, a significant increase from 2019, when more than 70,000 people died of overdoses.

2020 NDTA findings of note:

• Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) remain the greatest criminal drug threat in the United States.

• Illicit fentanyl is one of the primary drugs fueling the epidemic of overdose deaths in the United States, while heroin and prescription opioids remain significant challenges to public health and law enforcement.

• Mexican cartels are increasingly responsible for producing and supplying fentanyl to the U.S. market. China remains a key source of supply for the precursor chemicals that Mexican cartels use to produce the large amounts of fentanyl they are smuggling into the United States.

• Drug-poisoning deaths and seizures involving methamphetamine have risen sharply as Mexican TCOs increase the drug’s availability and expand the domestic market.

• Constraints associated with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic – daily travel restrictions, U.S. border closings, closure of nonessential businesses, and broad shelter-in-place orders – temporarily posed new challenges to criminal organizations’ movement of drugs during the first half of 2020.

The National Drug Threat Assessment provides a yearly assessment of the challenges communities face related to drug abuse and drug trafficking. Highlights in the report include usage and trafficking trends for drugs such as prescription drugs, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and hundreds of synthetic drugs. New to this year’s report is the effect of COVID-19 during the first part of 2020. The assessment gathers information from many data sources, such as drug investigations and seizures, drug purity, laboratory analysis, information on transnational and domestic criminal groups, and U.S. government drug cultivation and production estimates.

Sources: DEA Report; DEA Press Release


  1. I wouldn’t put too much stock in their US cartels area of influence map. The only cartel with influence in Oklahoma City is Los Rojos? Yeah right, that place is a main transshipment hub for the southern half of the US, and I highly doubt a small group like Los Rojos has anything beyond a small presence. CDS, CJNG, and other major cartels all have to use Oklahoma City to move their product.

    1. They don't put CDS or CJNG because they're on their payroll.

  2. "The powerful cartels" can overcome the mighty powers of the DEA and all the billion dollar budgets they and other agencies and their private bounty hunters get from the US government...Murder she said.
    Suspect inefficiency due to corruption at the top, Big Pharma keep getting their Big Bucks and do not have to report their Pharmacies activity because it is now using pushers, addicts themselves.
    Good luck self regulating.

  3. I blame the Users, DEA love the Users, they give them full employment.

  4. 6:34 there was no users pandemic until Big Pharma bribed US senators and congressmen with millions of dollars to pass legislation that made their shit legal medicine and payable by private insurers and medicare, the high levels of addiction resulted from lawmakers greed and corruption, not from the addicts.

    1. @1834 hrs.: Excellent post. Those big pharma “families” (like the Sacklers) want that dope cash. They call it “profits.” And they know how weak and pliable these wretched American politicians really are—they sell their souls for so very little.


    2. It is almost a myth that you can “recover” from addiction. Everyone has to do the rah-rah cheerleader thing to maintain a sliver of hope for the addicted who wish they had never seen their drug of choice. So we have the drug treatment business with its heavy load of repeat customers.0

      Just take tobacco for example. Approximately no one would keep smoking if they could stop. Despite the various interventions that have come online in recent years, like the drug “Chantix,” there is no perceptible increase in the rate of success among would-be quitters.

      90The kid who is about to step into the void with his or her first intoxicating drag on a cigarette has been misinformed about the nature of addiction. They see all the messaging about quit, quit, quit. That makes it sound like addiction is somehow voluntary. By definition, though, it is not.

      In my opinion we should just leave the current addicts alone and change the message from “Please quit. There’s help” to “IT IS EFFIN’ IMPOSSIBLE TO QUIT. IM-POSS-I-BLE. So don’t start, you dumb—ss!” That’s true for addicts, anyway. But “there’s no such thing as quitting” conflicts with “please quit” so they don’t say it. And kids like me at 15 have no idea what one draw on a cigarette might do. (I’m in the club that got the most blissful, sublime euphoria imaginable...until I didn’t.)

      Why do “they” in government and medicine, etc) chose the stupid way? Because there is a nicotine industry and an anti-nicotine industry and without new addicts, they both go under. Who gains in a non-smoking world? Just humanity: financially, physically and spiritually.

    3. @3:32 your statement is bull shit if you really wanted to quit you would. The first intoxicating drag on a cigarette jajajaja that’s bull shit if you get hooked with the first drag then your one weak individual I tried smoking cigarettes when I was 16 did it for a week and said fuck this shit and never tried it again. I have an uncle who smoked for 40 years and one day he said I quit and did it without the help of nicotine patch or any pill that helped you quit. It’s not impossible to quit but you have to want to quit you can’t force someone to do it. A weak 15 year old kid like you that has no idea that you can actually “recover” from any addiction if you really want to. If I was you I would keep my head in the books and quit posting bull shit about it being impossible to recover from addiction.


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