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Mississippi Factsheet   PDF  Print  Email 

State Facts

Population: 2,858,029
Law Enforcement Officers: 7,034
State Prison Population: 25,100
Probation Population: 15,435
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 31

Drug Situation: While cocaine, particularly crack cocaine, is still considered to be the biggest drug threat facing the state of Mississippi, the increase in methamphetamine abuse and manufacturing follows closely behind.

There has been a steady increase in production of methamphetamine, which poses a serious threat to abusers, law enforcement personnel, and the public alike.

The drug of choice and most widely abused drug among consumers in Mississippi is marijuana.

Other dangerous drugs (MDMA, LSD, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol) have remained popular among young drug users.

Diversion of pharmaceutical drugs is still of significant concern in Mississippi with OxyContin® abuse continuing to rise.

The movement of illegal drugs into and through Mississippi has been a significant problem for law enforcement for a number of years.

Mississippi is ideally suited with its interstate system, deepwater and river ports, and air and rail systems as the “Crossroads of the South” to facilitate drug movement from the Texas, Mexico and gulf ports to the entire Midwest and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Drug trafficking patterns indicate the interstate highway system to be the preferred method of transporting illegal drugs into and through Mississippi.

Highway interdiction is accomplished primarily through fragmented patrols by state and local law enforcement.

2004 Federal Drug Seizures

Cocaine: 268.6 kgs.
Heroin: 3.4 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 15.6 kgs.
Marijuana: 2,394.1 kgs.
Ecstasy: 2,252 tablets
Methampehtamine Laboratories: 170 (DEA, state, and local)

Cocaine: Cocaine is widely used and trafficked throughout Mississippi.

Cocaine, in both powder form (HCl) and base form (crack), is the most problematic drug for communities and law enforcement in Mississippi.

There is often a direct connection between the use and/or sale of cocaine and crime, especially violent crime.

In Mississippi, cocaine is being illicitly trafficked and used by people from all racial and socioeconomic groups throughout the state’s 82 counties.

Crack cocaine is still the drug of choice among users and traffickers in the African American population in both urban and rural areas of Mississippi.

Unique to the Mississippi Gulf Coast counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson are Vietnamese gangs involved in drug trafficking.

These Vietnamese gangs, primarily operating in the Biloxi area, are heavily involved in the distribution of powder cocaine and the club drug ecstasy.

The primary cocaine sources for these Vietnamese dealers are located in Texas and California.

Vietnamese dealers are known to supply some of the African American dealers with powder cocaine which is then converted or “cooked,” into crack cocaine for local sale.

Mexican traffickers are loosely organized in Mississippi but are believed to be associated with large Mexican gangs operating in Memphis, Tennessee. Overall, the Mexican population in Mississippi is steadily growing and Mexican drug trafficking groups are increasing in the rural, agricultural areas of the state.

Heroin: Heroin continues to be a rare commodity in the state of Mississippi, according to reports from several local and state agencies.

Most of the state’s heroin seizures come from users, although there have been cases where heroin has been seized from local independent dealers. These dealers have only had small amounts in their possession.

Heroin seen in central and southern Mississippi is believed to have come from Texas and New Orleans, while the northern part of the state is getting its heroin from the Memphis, Tennessee area.

Seizure figures indicate Mexican Brown (Black Tar) is the most popular type of heroin found throughout the state, however, South American white heroin has been seen in some areas.

Methamphetamine Lab Siezures: 2000=126, 2001=225, 2002=469, 2003=336, 2004=170

Methamphetamine: The manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine is one of the fastest growing drug problems in Mississippi.

Methamphetamine is brought in from other areas of the United States and across borders.

Methamphetamine use in Mississippi is rampant.

Virtually unheard of four years ago, or found only in the trucking community, methamphetamine is now approaching epidemic proportions in the state.

Not only has methamphetamine use and abuse impacted the law enforcement community, Mississippi farmers, and local merchants, drug treatment centers have also been affected by rising admissions.

According to professionals working in the drug treatment centers, methamphetamine abuse was first seen approximately five years ago with a significant increase occurring within the past three years. The need for treatment is enormous.

Initially, methamphetamine availability was concentrated in the far northern counties of Mississippi; however, several factors quickly contributed to the spread of the problem throughout northern Mississippi.

Bridges at Greenville; Washington County, Mississippi; Helena, Arkansas; Coahoma County, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee provide direct access to the states of Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

These states have had a tremendous problem with the manufacture of methamphetamine, which has led to tougher laws and more enforcement in those states.

The result of this is that manufacturers have moved into northern Mississippi because of the ample supply of anhydrous ammonia and less pressure from law enforcement.

The crystalline form of methamphetamine, known as “ice,” “glass,” or “crystal,” is gaining popularity. This crystal methamphetamine reportedly came from either California or Texas, and was transported to the area by transport trucks. The violators referred to the methamphetamine as “chrome.”

The theft of precursor chemicals has increased greatly.

The majority of merchants are cooperating with law enforcement by limiting access to the number of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine tablets that can be purchased as well as other items needed to manufacture methamphetamine. Because of their cooperation, however, shoplifting has increased.

Club Drugs: Both LSD and MDMA are being distributed and used in and around local nightclubs, at rave parties, and on college campuses.

MDMA seizures have increased significantly since 1998.

MDMA has become the most prevalent and popular of the “club” or “designer” drugs in Mississippi.

GHB, Rohypnol and Ketamine are not currently known to be widely used or popular.

LSD found in Mississippi normally comes from California. MDMA found in Mississippi is primarily from sources in California, New York, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Pharmaceuticals: In Mississippi, diversion of pharmaceuticals is primarily occurring at the retail level through schemes such as forging or altering prescriptions and through doctor shopping.

Illicitly diverted prescription drugs are being abused by individuals from all racial and socioeconomic groups.

Currently, Hydrocodone (Vicodin®), Alprozalam (Xanax®), Diazapam (Valium®), Oxycodone (Percodan®, OxyContin®), Lorazepam (Alivan®) and Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®) are the most widely diverted and abused pharmaceutical drugs in central Mississippi.

OxyContin® is currently the pharmaceutical drug of concern and has resulted in 14 overdoses in recent years.

These drugs, and others like Rohypnol, are also being obtained in large quantities from sources in Texas border towns, especially Laredo, Texas.

Another widespread problem is the illegal purchasing of large quantities of cold medicine containing ephedrine/pseudoephedrine, from grocery and drug stores, which is being converted, through use of chemicals, into methamphetamine.

Marijuana: Large quantities of Mexican marijuana are transported from Texas through Mississippi on Interstates 10, 12, and 55 destined for larger cities in the northeastern and southeastern United States.

Couriers in pick up trucks, vans, tractor-trailers and buses transport the marijuana in 50, 100 and 200 pound quantities in concealed compartments.

Proceeds from the drug sales are returned in the same manner.

Domestically cultivated marijuana is available throughout northern Mississippi in patches of four to five plants in and around dense vegetation on United States forestry land and around area lakes.

Marijuana is trafficked and used by all ethnic and socioeconomic groups in Mississippi, often along with or after the use of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Drug-Violation Arrests: 2000=446, 2001=241, 2002=359, 2003=321, 2004=292

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 seven MET deployments in the state of Mississippi since the inception of the program, in Jackson (2), Gulfport, Hancock County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, and Grenada.

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 Mississippi.

Special Topics: HIDTA: The Gulf Coast HIDTA hosts the following DEA initiatives in Mississippi:

Major Investigations Team, Pearl, Mississippi

North Mississippi Methamphetamine Enforcement Team, Oxford, Mississippi

Tri-County Major Investigations Team, Gulfport, Mississippi

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