United States Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the United States black market. Intelligence and security data collected from government agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

In the fiscal year 2013, the United States Federal Government spent $320 Million on drug addiction research, according to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The amount of federal spending was down 20 percent when compared to the inflation adjusted amount of $402 Million in 2010.

When adjusted for inflation, the amount of federal spending for 2013 was the same as FY 2002.

According to the Association for Addiction Professionals, about 10 percent of people in the United States who are addicted to prescription drugs or are heroin addicts have received any sort of treatment.

Source:  Carrie Blackmore Smith and Terry DeMio, “No way out: Heroin addicts trapped in deadly maze,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 19, 2014.

A man in the United States plead guilty in federal court for fraud after being arrested for selling fake degrees.

Between 2003 and 2012, the man sold up to $5 Million worth of fake degrees and diplomas for fake schools that he created. None of the colleges that he made diplomas for had any faculty or courses, and none were officially recognized by the US Department of Education.

The man also created a fake accrediting body that was meant to accredit the fake universities.

The making of the fake degrees took place in Connecticut, but the 7 different websites that provided fake diplomas targeted customers around the world. The package for an Associate Degree was $475, a Bachelor’s Degree was $495, Masterss Degree was $525, and a Doctoral Degree was offered for $550. If the customer bought several degrees, then a discount would kick in.

(More statistics on diploma mills.)

Source:  Aaron Katersky, “Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Churning Out Fake College Diplomas,” ABC News, May 8, 2014.

The self proclaimed top drug dealer on the online black market website Silk Road plead guilty in US federal court in May 2014.

Connelis Ja Slomp, aka “SuperTrips”, is a 23 year old man from the Netherlands made over $3 Million in revenue from selling drugs on Silk Road.

According to court documents, the man was equipped with only a laptop, iPhone and a backpack when conducting his international drug ring.  The man shipped 104 kilograms of MDMA, 566,000 ecstasy pills, four kilos of cocaine and other drugs through the mail to customers who bought his product on the website.

He was arrested when he came to the United States in order to party in South Beach. He had already rented a Lamborghini when he was arrested at the airport.

After being arrested, he forfeited $3,030,000 that he earned from drug proceeds that wee in bitcoins, which the United States Government converted to cash.

(See more profits and earnings from illegal jobs.)

Source:  Kim Janssen, “World’s most prolific online drug dealer pleads guilty in Chicago,” Chicago Sun Times, May 8, 2014.

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In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, agents with the Secret Service in the United States seized $88.7 Million in counterfeit dollars within the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of the fake dollar bills seized were made by using inkjet or laser printers.

Overseas, Secret Service agents seized $68.2 Million in counterfeit dollars during the fiscal year. Most of the fakes seized outside of the United States were made by offset presses. and in more professional “counterfeiting mills”.

Security agents in the Untied States arrested 3,617 people for counterfeiting in the fiscal year.

(More on counterfeit money.)

Source:  Del Quentin Wilber, “Woman With Printer Shows the Digital Ease of Bogus Cash,” Bloomberg, May 8, 2014.

A baggage screener working for the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles Airport was sentenced to six years in federal prison for taking bribe money to let cocaine pass through the station.

According to court documents, the woman was paid at least $2,400 for each incident where she let a suitcase filled with cocaine to pass through the X-ray machine.

(More crime in the United States data.)

Source:  “Baggage screener at LAX gets nearly 6 years in prison for letting cocaine through,” Los Angeles Daily News, May 5, 2014.

Sate officials the US State of Colorado reported on the tax collected from the state’s legalized marijuana program.

Marijuana smoking became legalized in the state at the start of 2014. In the time span of January and February 2014, the state of Colorado collected about $4.2 Million in sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana. The amount collected was half of the $5.5 Million to $8.9 Million in taxes that state officials estimated it would collect.

(More crime in the United States data.)

When voters in Colorado approved the recreational use of marijuana, the law included a 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on the wholesale prices of marijuana. In addition, consumers must pay local sales taxes and a 2.9 percent sales tax at the retail level.

Analysts interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek stated that the low levels of tax collection were due to smokers choosing to remain enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, where the tax levied on marijuana is lower. Also, experts believe that many smokers are continuing to buy their marijuana on the black market due to its cheaper price.

(How much does marijuana cost around the world?)

Source:  Jennifer Oldham, “Colorado Pot Revenue Lags Forecasts as Licensing is Slow,” Bloomberg Businessweek, May 1, 2014.

Based on previous intelligence and reports, the average price that a person from Cuba pays to human smugglers to be transported across the Florida Straits to the United States is $10,000.

A United States Federal Security Agent testified that when the person being smuggled out of Cuba is a potential Major League Baseball Player, then the smuggling fee can be up to 25 times higher, or $250,000.  In addition to these fee that must be paid to the smugglers, the baseball player and his family must agree to give up to 20 percent of the initial contract that is signed with a professional baseball team.

According to the Los Angeles Times, there are some current major league players from Cuba who are currently making payments to the smugglers while their families back home are threatened with violence is payment is not received.

Source:  Kevin Baxter and Brian Bennett, “In booming marketplace for Cuban players, Puig’s tale far from unique,” Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2014.

Criminals are using exploiting holes in wireless security to steal passwords and account details from ATM machines without the need installing skimming devices.

Criminals conduct this activity by placing a “skimming” device over the card reader of a legitimate ATM and install a pin pad over the keys. When a customer would use the ATM, the skimming machine would be able to capture the customers account data as well as the pin code. Once the machine was recovered, then the criminal would  have the information needed to breach the account.

Internet security experts state that criminals are now attempting to access debit card pin numbers and account information without installing the devices by targeting the machines through the internet.

In its 2014 Data Breach Investigation Report, Verizon studied 130 incidents of ATM skimming cases in 2013. Most of the ATM breaches took place at ATM machines and at gas pumps, where many customers use their debit cards to purchase gas. According to the report, the country with the most ATM skimming cases was Bulgaria, followed by Armenia, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Source:  Jordan Robertson, “What Happens When the ‘Internet of Things’ Comes to ATM Skimmers,” Bloomberg, April 22, 2014.

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.