Narcotics/Drugs Convictions for May 2013

Number Latest Month 1,781
Percent Change from previous month -14.7
Percent Change from 1 year ago -4.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) 1.8
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -7.8
Table 1: Criminal Narcotics/Drugs Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during May 2013 the government reported 1781 new narcotics/drugs convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 14.7% 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 2013 convictions of this type are compared with those of the same period in the previous year, the number of convictions was down (-4.8 percent). 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 1.8 percent from levels reported in 2008.

Plot of _FREQ_ by FYMONDT

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 May 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 66.4 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (32.3%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for narcotics/drugs convictions in May 2013 was DEA accounting for 39 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of narcotics/drugs convictions were: DHS (28% ), FBI (13%), Local (8%), ATF (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 May 2013, 168 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 May the most frequently cited lead charge was Title 21 U.S.C Section 846 involving the "Attempt and conspiracy". This was the lead charge for 72.6 percent of all magistrate convictions in May.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (15.5%), "21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession" (11.9%).

Narcotics/Drugs Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In May 2013, 1613 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during May 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 May.

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 May 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 777 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 634 2 2 2 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 106 3 3 3 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 15 4 4 4 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 14 5 5 9 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 10 6 8 7 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 8 7 10 5 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 7 8 9 14 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 6 9 11 8 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 4 10 7 11 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 41.3 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 that involves " Laundering of monetary instruments ". Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—84.4 percent—was registered for convictions under " Firearms; Unlawful acts " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 ).

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 51 percent—was Firearms; Penalties (Title 18 U.S.C Section 924 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 35.7 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C " (Title 21 U.S.C Section 843 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In May 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 630.5 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 4,397 118 1 3 4 More
N Mexico 2,030 34 2 6 6 More
Ark, E 1,880 25 3 25 78 More
N Dakota 1,855 10 4 74 73 More
S Dakota 1,773 12 5 81 71 More
W Virg, N 1,741 13 6 41 11 More
Arizona 1,601 88 7 1 2 More
Wyoming 1,543 7 8 61 66 More
Texas, S 1,541 108 9 4 3 More
Texas, W 1,448 74 10 2 1 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego)—with 4397 convictions as compared with 630.5 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during May 2013. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 4 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of New Mexico ranked 2nd. The District of New Mexico was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock), now ranked 3rd , and Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling) at 6th In the same order, these districts ranked 25th and 41st one year ago and 78th and 11th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of narcotics/drugs convictions compared to one year ago— 128.9 percent—was North Dakota . Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth— 283.8 percent—was Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in the rate of narcotics/drugs convictions— 64.4 percent—was Arizona .  But over the past five years, Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling) showed the largest drop— 55.7 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 May 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Hinojosa, Ricardo H. Texas, S 23 1 8 52 More
Zipps, Jennifer Guerin Arizona 22 2 6 - More
Jorgenson, Cindy K. Arizona 21 3 5 8 More
Bury, David C. Arizona 19 4 2 10 More
Collins, Raner Christercunean Arizona 17 5 4 9 More
Alvarez, Micaela Texas, S 17 5 15 15 More
Huff, Marilyn L. Cal, S 15 7 12 40 More
Ramos, Nelva Gonzales Texas, S 15 7 41 - More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 15 7 27 2 More
Bencivengo, Cathy Ann Cal, S 14 10 688 - More
Clevert, Charles N., Jr. Wisc, E 14 10 301 187 More
Table 4: Top 10 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 Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the Southern District of Texas (Houston) ranked 1st with 23 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Hinojosaalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 8).

  • Judge Jennifer Guerin Zipps in the District of Arizona ranked 2nd with 22 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Zippsalso appeared in the top ten rankings one year ago(ranked 6).

  • Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson in the District of Arizona ranked 3rd with 21 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Jorgenson appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 5) and five years ago (rank 8).

Report Generated: July 22, 2013
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