Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New cocaine tracking system could lead to better drug enforcement

Date:
June 19, 2014
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Law enforcement authorities need to better understand trafficking patterns of cocaine in the United States to address one of the world's largest illegal drug markets, according to a researcher whose new methodology might help. While cities in the north and northeast are destination cities for cocaine, the researcher found cities in the southern U.S. and along the west coast are source cities. In addition, cities in other regions, like Chicago and Atlanta, are major hubs for cocaine.

As part of his research, Siddharth Chandra created a map of cocaine prices in U.S. cities.
Credit: Image courtesy of Michigan State University

Law enforcement authorities need to better understand trafficking patterns of cocaine in the United States to address one of the world's largest illegal drug markets, according to a Michigan State University researcher whose new methodology might help.

Related Articles


Siddharth Chandra, an economist, studied wholesale powdered cocaine prices in 112 cities to identify city-to-city links for the transit of the drug. He used data published by the National Drug Intelligence Center of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2002 to 2011, which field intelligence officers and local, regional and federal law enforcement sources collected through drug arrests and investigations.

"These data enable us to identify suspected links between cities that may have escaped the attention of drug enforcement authorities," said Chandra, director of MSU's Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU's James Madison College. "By identifying patterns and locations, drug policy and enforcement agencies could provide valuable assistance to federal, state and local governments in their decisions on where and how to allocate limited law enforcement resources to mitigate the cocaine problem."

Chandra analyzed prices for 6,126 pairs of cities for possible links. If two cities are connected, prices will move in lockstep. So if there's a spike in cocaine prices in the city of origin -- or a source city, where the drug originates -- that spike will be transmitted to all cities dependent upon that source. In addition, cocaine will flow from the city with the lower price to the city with the higher price. It takes a number of transactions for cocaine to reach its end price, and prices tend to go up as drugs move from one city to another, he said.

While cities in the north and northeast are destination cities for cocaine, Chandra found cities in the southern U.S. and along the west coast are source cities. In addition, cities in other regions, like Chicago and Atlanta, are major hubs for cocaine.

Chandra also created a map of possible drug routes, which he compared with a map produced by the National Drug Intelligence Center, and found that a number of his routes hadn't been identified.

But Chandra cautions that his methodology shouldn't be used in isolation. Instead, it is one piece of the larger drug trafficking puzzle. Individual bits of the publicly available NDIC data may or may not be accurate based on whether drug smugglers tell the truth. However, the combined data could lead to better drug enforcement.

Unfortunately, Chandra said, the NDIC was closed in 2012 and he's not sure if another agency is continuing to collect data. But his research shows the importance of doing so.

"As an economist, the big takeaway is that prices carry some valuable information about trafficking in illegal goods," Chandra said.

Two of Chandra's former students, Samuel Peters and Nathaniel Zimmer, who recently graduated, assisted with the research. The study is published in the Journal of Drug Issues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Chandra, S. Peters, N. Zimmer. How Powdered Cocaine Flows Across the United States: Evidence From Open-Source Price Data. Journal of Drug Issues, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0022042614522621

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "New cocaine tracking system could lead to better drug enforcement." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125327.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2014, June 19). New cocaine tracking system could lead to better drug enforcement. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125327.htm
Michigan State University. "New cocaine tracking system could lead to better drug enforcement." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140619125327.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins