Dept. of Nifty Maps


I'd take these maps with a mountain of salt, but I find them strangely fascinating nonetheless, especially the ones in figure 3. Apparently, Colorado is a popular place to traffic in forbidden substances, unless you're Jamaican or Russian-Israeli. Or else the Jamaicans and Russian-Israelis are better at not being seen. It also looks like the one spot where those industrious Mexican dealers can't get a foothold is the border—the Canadian border, that is. And if you're scoring some dope in Alaska, you should thank a Dominican. Who knew?

NEXT: The Inkifada, One Year Later

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  1. I’m confoozed. When they say “Greatest Drug Threat”, what are they referring to? A threat to what, to whom? How? What are the consequences if said threat is allowed to follow through on its threats? Or am I delving too deep here, and it’s just a matter of abusing the word “threat”?

  2. What do the Asians have against Florida? Everyone else is here.

    One of the issues with this data is that it’s based on drug seizures/busts. Obviously, the more successful drug lords are the ones who don’t get caught. They’re probably all in Montana.

    Query: When did Russia and Israel merge?

  3. Well, I live in Massachusetts and according to those maps, we’ve got all of the drug distribution groups here. If I understand Libertarian economics correctly, that’s a good thing – more competition should drive down the price for my dope, right?

  4. Say, I have an idea vaguely related to this thread. Let’s all go on Google Maps and look for bin Laden. There’s a $25 million reward, you know. Sure, the government is probably trying to do the same thing, but we could probably do it better.

    Back to this thread, we could do the same thing with the drug cartels, assuming that there’s a reward/bounty associated with them, too. Virtual Bounty Hunting!

  5. Re: “Greatest Drug Threat”

    Notice that alcohol is not listed and over 12% reported Marijuana. Marijuana the “Greatest Drug Threat”? That’s like saying not putting the cap back on the toothpaste is the greatest threat to your marriage.

  6. Warren,

    What gets me is that “threat” is never defined in any real, statistic, scientific or even quasi-scientific terms. It’s like the government has declared that something is bad, and thus, the prevalence of said “bad thing” is therefore assumed to be a “threat”. It’s the culmination, the zero-hour, or irrationality, yet this country swallows it like so many “legal” pharmaceuticals.

    Just once, when they refer to ganja as a “threat”, I’d like to see them back up that assertion. For instance, why don’t they show how weed stacks up to car accidents and influenza in terms of deaths and life-altering injuries. Please, fuckbags, tell me how much more of a “threat” weed is than it is to get in my car and drive down to the fucking mall. Please. It’s a “threat” just like gays getting civil unions is a “threat” to hetero marriage.

  7. So Pro Libertate wants to know when did Russia and Israel merge. They never did, of course. The reference is to Russian Jews who were allowed to emigrate pretending to want to go to Israel. About 5% of them actually did — the remaining 95% ended up in the US. Here they esteblished contact with their contrymen in Israel to find the infamous Russian Mafia, which has very few ethnic Russian and an ovewhelming majority of Russian Jews. (I wonder how many Americans know the difference between an Ethnic Russian and a Russian Jew. Extremely few, in my experience.)

  8. I like their logo.
    If you squint it looks like a marijuana leaf.

  9. Should I give credit the DOJ when a teenager comes up to me and asks where he can score some “green rectangle”?

  10. I always had heard that Meth was a “west side” problem, but the “meth threat” map really illustrates that the great divide is the Mississippi river. Wonder why that is.

  11. Meth is a big problem in NY, had been for the last couple of years. You wouldn’t think so by looking at their charts.

    I don’t think they know as much as they claim, or try to make you think, they know.

  12. What I want to know is how many federal employees am I paying for to create to create these statistically indefensible, totally useless maps?

  13. These maps have no credibility – San Francisco is NOT listed as a marijuana distribution center.

  14. “These maps have no credibility – San Francisco is NOT listed as a marijuana distribution center.
    Comment by: Todd Fletcher

    Just cause a lot of people get high there doesnt mean its a trafficking hub.

    Tennessee is one of the major supply hubs if i remember right. When I was there it was. So cops told me.

    I’d guess their data is based on siezures of shipments, not arrests of possession, etc.


  15. Damn. We didn’t make the map.

    Oh Cannabis!

  16. Principal Distribution Centers (PDCs) were identified primarily through analysis of domestic drug seizure data; however, law enforcement reporting also was considered. Analysis of EPIC data from 2000 through 2004 revealed the cities that were most often identified as the origin or destination of seized drug shipments. These cities constitute most of the identified PDCs. Other cities, however, were included based on law enforcement reporting that indicates these cities are likely as significant as other PDCs, despite somewhat lower associated drug seizures.

    What does this mean?

    When they say “Greatest Drug Threat”, what are they referring to?

    • Researcher calls the chief law enforcement officer and asks, “What is your department’s Greatest Drug Threat?”
    • CLEO checks the top file in the in-box and uses whatever drug it’s about as the answer.
    • These responses are carefully recorded and tabulated, statistically analyzed, and charted to the fourth decimal point.
  17. What I want to know is how many federal employees am I paying for to create to create these statistically indefensible, totally useless maps?

    I got a degree in Geography, and almost became a cartographer. The largest single employer for that line of work is the gov’t, and I believe the CIA is the biggest single employer after the DoD. Doesn’t surprise me that the DoJ thought they needed their own branch.

    Having said that, I totally can’t answer your question other than to say “probably asswads of ’em”.

    One problem I have with the maps is the regions. WV / Virginia as part of the “Northeast”? SoCal as part of the “SouthWest” and not Pacific? Arkansas as “West Central” instead of Southeast? WTF?

    Another problem I have with them is that they suck. It would take me about 2 hours to go to the UT online map library, copy some base maps and Photoshop better maps than the ones the gov’t paid $97,263 for (ok, that’s a guess).

  18. I dunno, the Phoenix/Arizona maps seem fairly accurate to me.

  19. OK Dominicans what the hell do you have against Austin? Every other drug org uses us as a center, why not you?

    I welcome you down here and would love to help you out. I just want a cool nicknam.

    Blanco Grande would be good

  20. I agree that the very first map undermines the seriousness of the whole page. Essentially, they polled the local agencies and asked “what their greatest threat was” without considering that their perception of the threat might be substantially skewed by the latest breathless report on Dateline: NBC.

    Policing is as politicized as every other branch of the government. If the public is worried about Drug X, then the police will hunt dealers of Drug X and cobble together some logical-sounding excuse for calling them the “greatest threat.” Buying into their own propaganda, they report such to the Feds.

    Here in Minnesota, the local sheriffs have a particular hatred for meth because a lot of it is locally produced. These labs are crude, messy chemical plants and the state pollution control agency has numerous rules and regulations detailing how they should be cleaned up. It costs the rural counties millions in site remediation every year, so naturally they would report it as a major problem for them. But this has nothing to do with whether or not it is the most commonly used drug or causes the most deaths.

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