Narcotics/Drugs Convictions for April 2014

Number Latest Month 2,058
Percent Change from previous month -15.9
Percent Change from 1 year ago 0.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 4.5
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -6.1
Table 1. Criminal Narcotics/Drugs Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during April 2014 the government reported 2058 new narcotics/drugs convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 15.9 percent over the previous month.

The comparisons of the number of defendants convicted for narcotics/drugs-related offenses are based on case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (see Table 1).

When monthly 2014 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was only slightly up (0.8%). Convictions over the past year are still much higher than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are up 4.5 percent from levels reported in 2009.

Bar and line plot of FYMON

Figure 1. Monthly Trends in Narcotics/Drugs Convictions

The leveling out from the levels five years ago in narcotics/drugs convictions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of narcotics/drugs convictions of this type recorded on a month-to-month basis. Where a prosecution was initially filed in U.S. Magistrate Court and then transferred to the U.S. District Court, the magistrate filing date was used since this provides an earlier indicator of actual trends. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. The one and five-year rates of change in Table 1 and in the sections that follow are all based upon this six-month moving average. To view trends year-by-year rather than month-by-month, see TRAC's annual report series for a broader picture.

Within the broad category of narcotics/drugs, cases were classified by prosecutors into more specific types.

Case types within narcotics/drugs are

  • Drug Trafficking

  • Simple Drug Possession

  • Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)

  • Major Project Triggerlock Prosecutions (OCDETF)

  • Other Triggerlock Prosecutions (OCDETF)

The largest number of convictions of these matters in April 2014 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 72.4 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (26.4%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for narcotics/drugs convictions in April 2014 was DEA accounting for 36 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of narcotics/drugs convictions were: DHS (35% ), FBI (11%), ATF (6%), Local (6%). See Figure 3.

Pie chart of progcatlabel

Figure 2. Specific Types of Convictions
Pie chart of agenrevgrp

Figure 3. Convictions by Investigative Agency

Narcotics/Drugs Convictions in U.S. Magistrate Courts

Top Ranked Lead Charges

In April 2014, 250 defendants in narcotics/drugs cases for these matters were filed in U.S. Magistrate Courts. These courts handle less serious misdemeanor cases, including what are called "petty offenses." In addition, complaints are sometimes filed in the magistrate courts before an indictment or information is entered. In these cases, the matter starts in the magistrate courts and later moves to the district court where subsequent proceedings take place.

In the magistrate courts in April the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 involving "Attempt and conspiracy". This was the lead charge for 88 percent of all magistrate convictions in April.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (6.8%).

Narcotics/Drugs Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In April 2014, 1808 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during April there were an additional 0 defendants whose cases moved from the magistrate courts to the U.S. district courts after an indictment or information was filed. The sections which follow cover both sets of cases and therefore cover all matters filed in district court during April.

Top Ranked Lead Charges

Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the convictions of narcotics/drugs matters filed in U.S. District Court during April 2014.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 833 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 704 2 2 2 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 143 3 3 3 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 23 4 4 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 14 5 5 6 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 14 5 6 8 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 9 7 10 7 More
21 USC 959 - Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo 8 8 21 29 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 6 9 7 33 More
18 USC 1001 - Fraud/false statements or entries generally 4 10 15 25 More
21 USC 860 - Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a 4 10 9 12 More
Table 2. Top Charges for Convictions

  • "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was the most frequent recorded lead charge. "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (Title 21 U.S.C Section 841) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 five years ago.

  • Ranked 2nd in frequency was the lead charge "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846. "Attempt and conspiracy" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 five years ago.

  • Ranked 3rd was "Importation of controlled substances" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 952. "Importation of controlled substances" under Title 21 U.S.C Section 952 was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 five years ago.

Among these top ten lead charges, the one showing the greatest increase in convictions — up 40 percent — compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 959 that involves " Possession, manufacture, or distribution for purpo ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase — 675 percent — was registered for convictions under " RICO - prohibited activities " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago — down 69.4 percent — was " Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 860 ). This was the same statute that had the largest decrease — 31.3 % — when compared with five years ago.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In April 2014 the Justice Department said the government obtained 691.1 narcotics/drugs convictions for every ten million people in the United States.

Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of narcotics/drugs convictions in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

The districts registering the largest number of convictions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3. Districts must have at least 5 narcotics/drugs convictions to receive a ranking.


Judicial District Percapita Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Cal, S 5,295 148 1 1 2 More
Texas, W 2,877 158 2 2 1 More
Arizona 2,747 150 3 4 6 More
N Dakota 2,573 15 4 35 72 More
Wyoming 2,290 11 5 87 41 More
D. C. 2,277 12 6 76 72 More
N Mexico 2,244 39 7 8 7 More
Nebraska 1,940 30 8 26 15 More
Ala, S 1,869 13 9 56 43 More
Vermont 1,725 9 10 53 64 More
Table 3. Top 10 Districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego) — with 5295 convictions as compared with 691.1 convictions per ten million population in the United States — was the most active during April 2014. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 1 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 2nd. The Western District of Texas (San Antonio) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 1 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • District of Arizona is now ranking 3rd. The District of Arizona was ranked 4 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 for most frequent use five years ago.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Nebraska , now ranked 8th , and North Dakota at 4th In the same order, these districts ranked 26th and 35th one year ago and 15th and 72nd five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of narcotics/drugs convictions compared to one year ago — 283.3 percent — was Wyoming . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 73.7 percent — was Arizona .

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of narcotics/drugs convictions — 41.2 percent — was North Dakota .  But over the past five years, Southern District of Alabama (Mobile) showed the largest drop — 48.4 percent.

Top Ranked District Judges

At any one time, there are about 680 federal District Court judges working in the United States. The judges recorded with the largest number of new narcotics/drugs crime cases resulting in convictions of this type during April 2014 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 29 1 5 3 More
Jorgenson, Cindy K. Arizona 24 2 5 38 More
Collins, Raner Christercunean Arizona 20 3 9 22 More
Zipps, Jennifer Guerin Arizona 20 3 21 - More
Martinez, Philip Ray Texas, W 20 3 47 6 More
Burns, Larry Alan Cal, S 19 6 23 17 More
Campbell, David G. Arizona 18 7 256 465 More
Hayes, William Q. Cal, S 18 7 30 43 More
Sabraw, Dana Makoto Cal, S 18 7 16 17 More
Houston, John A. Cal, S 18 7 30 13 More
Head, Hayden Wilson, Jr. Texas, S 18 7 61 61 More
Table 4. Top Ten Judges

A total of 10 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of narcotics/drugs convictions per capita, while the remaining 1 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 11 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judge Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 29 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 5) and five years ago (rank 3).

  • Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson in the District of Arizona ranked 2nd with 24 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Jorgenson also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 5).

  • Judges Raner Christercunean Collins in the District of Arizona, Jennifer Guerin Zipps in the District of Arizona and Philip Ray Martinez in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 3rd with 20 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Collins also appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago (ranked 9).

Report Generated: July 3, 2014
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