Over the past 10 years, the drug landscape in the United States has shifted, with the tripartite opioid threat (controlled prescription drugs, fentanyl, and heroin) having risen to epidemic levels.
Drug poisoning deaths are currently at their highest ever recorded level and, every year since 2009, drug poisoning deaths have outnumbered deaths by firearms, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide
Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) supply illicit substances to distributors and users in the United States. TCOs continue to form relationships with gangs, who in turn commit violent crimes and serve as retail-level drug distributors for TCOs, presenting a serious risk to public health and safety. The number of deaths attributed to controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) continues to outpace those for cocaine and heroin combined.
Methamphetamine distribution and abuse significantly contribute to violent crime rates in the United States.
Mexican TCOs remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These TCOs maintain territorial influence over large regions in Mexico used for the cultivation, production, importation, and transportation of illicit drugs. By controlling lucrative smuggling corridors across the U.S. Southwest Border (SWB), Mexican TCOs are able to introduce multi-ton quantities of illicit drugs into the United States on a yearly basis. Once these drugs are smuggled across the Mexican border, they are delivered to consumer markets in the United States using transportation routes and distribution cells that Mexican TCOs oversee both directly and indirectly.