Narcotics/Drugs Prosecutions for September 2012
Table 1: Criminal Narcotics/Drugs Prosecutions
The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2012 the government reported 2002 new narcotics/drugs prosecutions.
According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is down 0.4% over the previous month.
The comparisons of the number of defendants charged with 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 2012 prosecutions of this type are compared with those of the same period in
the previous year, the number of filings was down (-11 percent).
Prosecutions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago.
Overall, the data show that prosecutions of this type are down 5.7 percent from levels reported in 2007.
Figure 1: Monthly trends in narcotics/drugs prosecutions
The leveling out from the levels five years ago in narcotics/drugs prosecutions for these matters is shown more clearly in Figure 1.
The vertical bars in Figure 1
represent the number of narcotics/drugs prosecutions 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
Simple Drug Possession
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
Major Project Triggerlock Prosecutions (OCDETF)
Other Triggerlock Prosecutions (OCDETF)
The largest number of prosecutions of these matters in September 2012 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 65.9 percent of prosecutions. Prosecutions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (31.1%), "
Drugs-Simple Drug Possession" (3%).
See Figure 2.
The lead investigative agency for narcotics/drugs prosecutions in September 2012
was DEA accounting for 43 percent of prosecutions referred.
Other agencies with substantial numbers of narcotics/drugs referrals were:
DHS (29% ), FBI (10%), Local (6%), ATF (4%).
See Figure 3.
Figure 2: Specific types of prosecutions
Figure 3: Prosecutions by investigative agency
Narcotics/Drugs Prosecutions in U.S. Magistrate Courts
Top Ranked Lead Charges
In September 2012, 815 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 September the most frequently cited lead charge was
Title 21 U.S.C Section 841 involving the "Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A". This was the lead charge
for 48.2 percent of all magistrate filings in September.
Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy" (30.4%), "21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances" (12%).
Narcotics/Drugs Prosecutions in U.S. District Courts
In September 2012, 1187 defendants in new cases
for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September there
were an additional 480 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 September.
Top Ranked Lead Charges
Table 2 shows the top lead charges recorded in the prosecutions of narcotics/drugs matters
filed in U.S. District Court during September 2012.
Table 2: Top charges filed
"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 prosecutions—up 900 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 21 U.S.C Section 860
that involves " Distribution or manufacturing in or near schools a
Compared to five years ago, the largest increase—291.7 percent—was registered for
prosecutions under " Penalties
" (Title 46 U.S.C Section 70506 ).
Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest
decline in prosecutions compared to one year ago—down 67.1 percent—was
Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C
(Title 21 U.S.C Section 843 ).
This was the same statute that had the largest decrease— 58.6 %—when compared with five years ago.
Top Ranked Judicial Districts
In September 2012 the Justice Department said the government brought 651.6 narcotics/drugs prosecutions for every ten million people in the United States.
Understandably, there is great variation in the per capita number of narcotics/drugs prosecutions that are filed in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.
The districts registering the
largest number of prosecutions per capita for these matters last month are shown in Table 3.
Districts must have at least 5 narcotics/drugs prosecutions to receive a ranking.
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)
The Southern District of California (San Diego)—with 5514 prosecutions as compared with 651.6 prosecutions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2012.
The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 2 a year ago, while it was ranked 2 for most frequent use five years ago.
The District of Kansas ranked 2nd.
District of New Mexico is now ranking 3rd.
The District of New Mexico was ranked 6 a year ago, while it was ranked 6 for most frequent use five years ago.
Recent entrants to the top 10 list were
Eastern District of Texas (Tyler), now ranked
, and Kansas
In the same order, these districts ranked 11th and 16th one year ago and 10th and 20th five years ago.
The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth
in the rate of narcotics/drugs prosecutions compared to one year ago— 136.7 percent—was
This was the same district that had the largest increase— 144.1 percent—when compared with five years ago.
In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the
largest drop in the rate of narcotics/drugs prosecutions— 40.7 percent—was
But over the past five years,
Western District of Texas (San Antonio)
showed the largest drop— 43.1 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 of this type during September 2012 are shown in Table 4.
A total of 7 out of the "top ten" judges were in districts which were in the top ten with the largest number of narcotics/drugs filings per capita, while the remaining 5 judges were from other districts.
(Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)
Judge Richard A. Schell in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) ranked 1st with 54 defendants in narcotics/drugs cases.
Judge Kathryn Hoefer Vratil in the District of Kansas ranked 2nd with 48 defendants in narcotics/drugs cases.
Judges Irma Elsa Gonzalez in the Southern District of California (San Diego) and John C. Coughenour in the Western District of Washington (Seattle) ranked 3rd with 25 defendants in narcotics/drugs cases.
Report Generated: December 11, 2012