News, statistics and facts about black market crime in the United States. Crime data, security threats and other criminal trade information is collected from criminal justice programs, research organizations and other information sources.

In early 2014, federal security administrators reported that more heroin grown and produced in Mexico was entering the United States. Officials stated that this was occurring due to the decrease in marijuana that was being sold by Mexican traffickers.

Based on intelligence and media interviews, the wholesale price of marijuana sold in Mexico has dropped within the past 5 years. In 2009, a farmer growing marijuana in Mexico was able to receive up to $100 per kilogram of wholesale marijuana. By 2014, the wholesale price of marijuana dropped to less than $25. Farmers state that the push towards marijuana legalization has contributed to the downfall as more people buy higher-quality marijuana that was grown in the United States.

As the price of marijuana decreased, Mexican drug cartel have begun looking for new revenue streams. It appears as if they have found a replacement in heroin.

With reports from criminal justice programs stating that heroin abuse increased by 79 percent in the US between 2007 and 2012, Mexican cartels are increasing their supply in order to meet demand. Back in 2007, border security agents seized 367 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. In 2013, security agents seized 2,162 kilograms.

A contributing factor to the high heroin abuse rates in the US is driven by prescription drugs abuse. With heroin being cheaper than prescription drugs, many users are continually switching to heroin due to its cheaper cost. For example, a prescription drug sold on the black market in can be sold for up to $80, with the effect of the pill wearing off after 4 to 6 hours. A hit of heroin can be sold for as little as $4.

Farm workers in Mexico are cashing in from the increase in heroin demand. Farmers in the Northern Sierra Madre earn up to $30 to $40 per day cultivating poppies on farmland. The poppy farm is reportedly the best paid farm in Northern Mexico.

Farmers sell a kilogram of opium for $1,500. The wholesale price has doubled in 2013 from the year before. The raw opium is sold to middlemen who cook the opium into heroin. After being smuggled across the border, a kilogram in the Northern United States can be sold for $60,000 to $80,000.

(How much does heroin cost per gram?)

Source:  Nick Miroff, “Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls,” Washington Post, April 6, 2014.

Based on information submitted to Havocscope, the following is the reported prices of heroin when sold in the Washington DC area of the United States.

According to our reader, the basic unit of sale for heroin is through increments of a tenth of a gram. Thus, .1 gram is sold for $10, .2 of a gram is sold for $20. $50 will get a user .5 or half a gram, and a full gram is sold for $100.

However, due to competition amongst the areas drug dealers, the actual price of heroin sold varies depending on how good the product is and whether the dealer and the customer has a previous relationship. In terms of actual amount, a half gram can actually hold only .35 to .5, with the bag being sold for $45 to $60 depending on the quality of the heroin.

The same price variation occurs when dealing in full grams. The actual price of a gram of heroin sold in the DC region can vary between $80 to $120.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  User submitted information, received on April 6, 2014.

A reader of Havocscope submitted information through our Crowd-Sourced Data form to explain the prices of the heroin market in Denver, Colorado.

According to our reader, the heroin dealers in the Denver metro area are mostly from Honduras. The heroin is bagged in half gram portions, which are sold for $30, and $60 for a full gram of heroin. Dealers in Denver do not offer heroin for less than half a gram. The heroin is a light brown powder that is sold inside little black balloons, and is usually of mid-grade quality.

Most heroin users in the Denver area purchase half a gram when using. The half gram balloons are commonly called “pager dope,” meaning that a call to the dealer will lead it being filled in 5 to 15 minuets.

Higher end dealers also sell heroin that costs $40 for half a gram to $80 per gram. These bags are of higher quality.

According to our reader, who states that he or she is a heroin addict, heroin can be purchased in areas north of Downtown Denver, and in the suburbs cities of Thornton, Westminster, and Broomfield.

(More prices of heroin per gram around the world.)

Source:  User Submitted Data, Received by Havocscope on March 24, 2014.

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According to figures released by an official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a cigarette smuggler can make up to $500,000 from from smuggling cigarettes between states on the East Coast.

The smuggler legitimately buys 200 cases of cigarettes in southern states such as North Carolina or South Carolina. Then, the smuggler would then drive up the coast to New York City, where the tax on tobacco is $4.35.

56.9 percent of the cigarettes smoked in NYC in 2012 were smuggled though the black market.

(See more profits from illegal jobs.)

Source:  Mark Niquette and Esme E. Deprez, “Cigarette Smuggling Prompts Crackdown by States Losing Billions,” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 24, 2014.

The United States Department of Justice reported that the website Appbucket.net provided pirated copies of Android mobile apps to users. In the plea agreement with the websites two founders, criminal justice officials stated that over 1 million pirated apps were illegally downloaded from the website. The value of the downloads was over $700,000, according to prosecutors.

Another website providing pirated Android apps was SnappzMarket.com, which was also seized by criminal justice agencies in 2012. The website reportedly allowed over 1 million illegal downloads of pirated apps that were valued at $1.7 Million.

Source:  Chris Welch, “Justice Department lands first ever convictions against mobile app pirates,” The Verge, March 24, 2014.

In 2013, criminal justice officials in the United States estimated that between $19 Billion to $29 Billion is being smuggled down to Mexico from illegal drug sales in the United States. The sales and revenue from marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine is included in that total.

In terms of enforcement, the US Immigration ad Customs Enforcement seized $411 Million in cash that was being transported into Mexico.

The Former Governor of Sinaloa stated that up to 62 percent of the economy in Sinaloa was based on drug trafficking money.

Many of the drug cartels invest in legitimate businesses in order to launder their illicit proceeds. Cartels place investments into shopping centers, hotels, residential developments and various types of economic activities.

Source:  John Burnett, “At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South,” NPR News, March 20, 2014.

According to the Tax Foundation and data from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, smuggled cigarettes account for 56.9 percent of all  cigarettes smoked in New York City. The smuggled cigarettes were smuggled into the state from other states where the tobacco tax is lower.

According to CBS news, the cigarette tax in New York City is $4.35 per pack. In states such as Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia, the tax on tobacco is less than $1 per pack.

Officials from the American Lung Association dispute these figures by stating that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy receives funding from tobacco companies. The American Lung Association states that smuggling is a lot smaller than what the report claims.

Source:  Jonathan Berr, “The boom in smuggling to avoid cigarette taxes,” CBS News, March 21, 2014.

In the US State of Hawaii, a prison guard plead guilty in federal court for smuggling contraband items into prison.

The guard accepted $5,000 from a dealer to smuggle methamphetamine into the correctional facility, which was then distributed to a confidential informant.

(More earnings and income from illegal jobs.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Ex-Halawa guard pleads guilty in meth smuggling,” SeattlePI.com, March 19, 2014.

A black market passport dealer from Myanmar who was working in Bangkok explained to a reporter about the illegal passport trade in Thailand. According to the dealer, there are three types of passports that are available for sale on the black market: Stolen passports, real passports that the owner is selling in order to make money, and fake passports.

The price of passports in Thailand depends on the issuing country. A passport from Myanmar (Burma) costs between $1,300 to $2,000 (40,000 Thai Baht to 60,000 Baht). Black market passports from European Union countries are available for sale for $2,600 (80,000 baht). The most expensive passports in Thailand are from the United States, which sell for $3,300 (100,000 baht).

(All statistics on fake ids and fake passports.)

Source:  Linn Thant, “Crackdown Under Way on Illicit Thai Passport Trade,” Irrawaddy, March 18, 2014.

In a report released by the Attorney General of the US State of California, researchers stated that organized crime groups were committing money laundering, cyber crimes, human trafficking, and drugs and arms trafficking through the border between San Diego and Mexico.

According to the report, approximately 70 percent of all the methamphetamine that is shipped to the United States passed through San Diego.

(How much does meth cost?)

Between 2010 and 2012, at least 1,300 people were identified by security officials as being trafficked through San Diego. An up to 250,000 weapons are smuggled across the border between the two countries each year.

(Cost of an AK-47 and guns on the black market.)

Source:  Roxana Popescu, “State focusing on cross-border trafficking and financial crime,” UT San Diego, March 18, 2014.