Narcotics/Drugs Convictions for September 2013

Number Latest Month 2,298
Percent Change from previous month 24.8
Percent Change from 1 year ago -8.1
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Including Magistrate Court) -5.9
Percent Change from 5 years ago (Excluding Magistrate Court) -12.8
Table 1: Criminal Narcotics/Drugs Convictions

The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during September 2013 the government reported 2298 new narcotics/drugs convictions. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this number is up 24.8% 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 (-8.1 percent). Convictions over the past year are still much lower than they were five years ago. Overall, the data show that convictions of this type are down 5.9 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 September 2013 was for "Drugs-Drug Trafficking", accounting for 66.2 percent of convictions. Convictions were also filed for "Drugs-Organized Crime Task Force" (32%). See Figure 2.

The lead investigative agency for narcotics/drugs convictions in September 2013 was DEA accounting for 44 percent of convictions. Other agencies with substantial numbers of narcotics/drugs convictions were: DHS (23% ), FBI (16%), Local (7%), 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 September 2013, 121 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 846 involving the "Attempt and conspiracy". This was the lead charge for 75.2 percent of all magistrate convictions in September.

Other frequently prosecuted lead charges include: "21 USC 844 - Penalty for simple possession" (14.9%), "21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A" (5.8%).

Narcotics/Drugs Convictions in U.S. District Courts

In September 2013, 2177 defendants in new cases for these matters were charged in the U.S. District Courts. In addition during September 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 September.

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 September 2013.

Lead Charge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
21 USC 841 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A 1,121 1 1 1 More
21 USC 846 - Attempt and conspiracy 800 2 2 2 More
21 USC 952 - Importation of controlled substances 116 3 3 3 More
18 USC 1962 - RICO - prohibited activities 16 4 6 13 More
18 USC 922 - Firearms; Unlawful acts 13 5 4 10 More
21 USC 963 - Attempt and conspiracy 13 5 5 4 More
18 USC 924 - Firearms; Penalties 9 7 11 8 More
18 USC 1956 - Laundering of monetary instruments 9 7 9 5 More
21 USC 843 - Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts C 8 9 8 7 More
46 USC 70503 - Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US 8 9 6 9 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 16.4 percent—compared to one year ago was Title 18 U.S.C Section 1962 that involves " RICO - prohibited activities ". This was the same statute that had the largest increase—178.6 %—when compared with five years ago.

Again among the top ten lead charges, the one showing the sharpest decline in convictions compared to one year ago—down 46.9 percent—was Firearms; Unlawful acts (Title 18 U.S.C Section 922 ). Compared to five years ago, the most significant decline in convictions— 44.3 percent—was for convictions where the lead charge was " Laundering of monetary instruments " (Title 18 U.S.C Section 1956 ).

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

In September 2013 the Justice Department said the government obtained 850.9 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 4,695 126 1 3 3 More
Wyoming 4,189 19 2 67 31 More
W Virg, S 3,378 26 3 37 48 More
Tenn, E 3,247 68 4 17 24 More
W Virg, N 3,080 23 5 41 21 More
Texas, S 2,968 208 6 4 2 More
Texas, W 2,623 134 7 2 1 More
Mo, W 2,106 54 8 32 50 More
N Mexico 2,030 34 9 8 9 More
Mo, E 1,979 48 10 30 14 More
Table 3: Top 10 districts (per ten million people)

  • The Southern District of California (San Diego)—with 4695 convictions as compared with 850.9 convictions per ten million population in the United States—was the most active during September 2013. The Southern District of California (San Diego) was ranked 3 a year ago, while it was ranked 3 for most frequent use five years ago.

  • The District of Wyoming ranked 2nd.

  • Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston) is now ranking 3rd.

Recent entrants to the top 10 list were Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville), now ranked 4th , and Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis) at 10th In the same order, these districts ranked 17th and 30th one year ago and 24th and 14th five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in the rate of narcotics/drugs convictions compared to one year ago— 55.3 percent—was Eastern District of Tennessee (Knoxville). This was the same district that had the largest increase— 79 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 convictions— 34.2 percent—was Western District of Texas (San Antonio).  But over the past five years, Wyoming showed the largest drop— 67.3 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 September 2013 are shown in Table 4.

Judge Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago  
Gaitan, Fernando J., Jr. Mo, W 26 1 158 206 More
Junell, Robert A. Texas, W 26 1 1 1 More
Cerezo, Carmen Consuelo Puer Rico 25 3 22 503 More
Jorgenson, Cindy K. Arizona 22 4 4 18 More
Dominguez, Daniel R. Puer Rico 22 4 115 773 More
Moses, Alia Texas, W 21 6 6 - More
Garcia-Gregory, Jay A. Puer Rico 19 7 73 321 More
Greer, J. Ronnie Tenn, E 19 7 17 191 More
Hanen, Andrew S. Texas, S 19 7 79 45 More
Kazen, George P. Texas, S 18 10 144 12 More
Crane, Randy Texas, S 18 10 12 9 More
Montalvo, Frank Texas, W 18 10 28 5 More
Table 4: Top 10 judges

A total of 8 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 4 judges were from other districts. (Because of ties, there were a total of 12 judges in the "top ten" rankings.)

  • Judges Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. in the Western District of Missouri (Kansas City) and Robert A. Junell in the Western District of Texas (San Antonio) ranked 1st with 26 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions. Judge Junell appeared in the top ten rankings one year (ranked 1) and five years ago (rank 1).

  • Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo in the District of Puerto Rico ranked 3rd with 25 convicted in narcotics/drugs convictions.

Report Generated: November 25, 2013
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