Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (2023)

National Drug Intelligence Center
Indiana Drug Threat Assessment
April 2001


Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (2)

Indiana is the fourteenth largest state in the nation with a population of 5.9 million people. The northern belt along Lake Michigan is industrialized, while the central and southern areas support a rural, agricultural lifestyle. All the interstates in Indiana cross through Indianapolis, the state's largest city.

Fast Facts

Population (1999) 5.9 million
U.S. ranking 14th
Median income (1999) $40,929
Unemployment rate (1999) 3%
Land area 36,291 square miles
Shoreline 53 miles
Capital Indianapolis
Principal cities Fort Wayne, Gary, Evansville, South Bend
Number of counties 92
Principal industries Agriculture, production, tourism

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Northwestern Indiana, specifically the area covered by the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), is a distribution center for drugs transported throughout Indiana. Lake County, Indiana's second largest county, is located just 30 miles east of Chicago and consists of approximately 500 square miles. The county's population of 486,308 comprises more than 80 ethnic cultures. The Lake County HIDTA is divided into three areas: the urban, northern area (including Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago); the suburban, central area; and the rural, southern area. The transportation infrastructure of Lake County is varied, consisting of passenger and commercial railroad lines (there are large rail yards in Gary, Hammond, and Munster), the Port of Indiana, several truck depots, and two airports, including the recently expanded Gary Airport. Drug trafficking organizations

DTOs) take advantage of this infrastructure and use the Lake County area as a transshipment point for drugs destined for the Midwest. Mexican DTOs use the area to store and distribute bulk quantities of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin.

Private and rented vehicles and commercial trucks are the most common means used to transport drugs, although package delivery services, air parcel delivery services or couriers, and railways also are used. Drug shipments have an excellent chance of reaching a destination because of the volume of private vehicles, trucks, parcels, railcars, and ships that transit the area every day.

Indianapolis is a secondary distribution center for the state. Indianapolis is one of the country's leading grain markets and a major livestock and meat processing center. Both I-70, a major east-west route spanning two-thirds of the country, and I-65, the Lake Michigan-Gulf of Mexico link, pass directly through downtown, providing DTOs easy access to the city as well as to other areas of the state. Furthermore, I-69 connects Indianapolis to central and southern Michigan, providing a possible conduit for drug transportation throughout the Great Lakes Region. Indianapolis is also ranked sixteenth in the world for air cargo shipped with 1,107,985 tons per year.

The nature of the drug problem in Indiana varies throughout the state. The primary drug problems in northern and central Indiana are the availability, distribution, and abuse of powdered and crack cocaine. In the central and southern areas, a dramatic increase in the number of methamphetamine laboratories has resulted in increased methamphetamine abuse. Heroin is more readily available in the state's urban areas, and while marijuana is the most commonly abused drug across Indiana, the threat posed by marijuana abuse has not reached the level posed by powdered cocaine.

Chart 1. Federal Sentences by Drug Type FY1998
Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (3)
d-link Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (4) Powdered Cocaine Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (5) Crack Cocaine Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (6) Heroin
Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (7) Marijuana Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (8) Methamphetamine Source: U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials report that Mexican DTOs are the primary transporters of cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin to Indiana. They obtain supplies directly from Mexico or via California, Florida, and Texas. African American and independent Caucasian criminal groups, also transport drugs to Indiana.

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Street gangs, including organized gangs such as the Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Latin Kings, as well as local independents dominate street-level distribution of drugs in the Northern

District, whereas local or independent street gangs are a more dominant factor in drug distribution throughout the Southern District. The presence of gangs or gang-related activity appears to be increasing. Out of 190 agencies surveyed in 1999 by the Indiana State Police, 87 reported criminal gang activity and another 35 responses suggested gang activity was present. The Gangster disciples had the most significant increase in gang migration; in 1999, officials in 32 counties, 13 more than reported in 1998, identified the presence of Gangster Disciples--or one of its many factions--in their areas. Officials in 10 more counties than reported in 1998 identified members of the Latin Kings in their areas. Respondents to the 1999 survey identified members of the Vice Lords in 35 Indiana counties.

The Gangster Disciples is the largest Chicago-based street gang. Members are primarily African American. The gang has been in existence since the early 1960s and its organizational structure is similar to that of a corporation. In Indiana, members sell drugs primarily in low-income, urban areas. The Gangster Disciples has been identified in over 40 states. The Gangster Disciples has been in a state of flux because law enforcement authorities have targeted the group in recent years. Investigations have resulted in indictments and convictions of almost 40 leaders, including Larry Hoover, who had served as "Chairman of the Board" since the early 1970s.

The Vice Lords is the oldest street gang in Chicago. Its members are primarily African American. The Vice Lords is divided among three major factions: the Conservative Vice Lords, Traveling Vice Lords, and Four Corner Hustlers. Each faction has its own members and leaders but its organization is more loosely structured than that of the Gangster Disciples.

The Latin Kings, also known as the Almighty Latin King Nation, is a primarily Hispanic street gang. It is composed of more than 70 factions operating under an overall leadership structure. The Latin Kings has expanded its drug trafficking to other parts of the state and nationwide.

A rise in juvenile, gang-related violence over the past 10 years can be attributed, in part, to the rise in gang-related drug distribution. Juvenile drug-related crimes increased in 1999. Most of the Indiana county sheriff's and police departments responding to the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) National Drug Threat Survey 2000, as well as those interviewed by telephone, report that, on average, 40 percent of the drug-related crime in their areas is committed by juveniles. In Gary, an estimated 50-70, primarily juvenile, street gangs openly compete for control of more than 300 crack houses. In Indianapolis, an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 gang members compete for control of the drug market in the city.

Chart 2. Juveniles Arrested for Drug Crimes in Indiana, 1995-1997

Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (9)
d-link Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report, 1997.

Despite increased drug-related activity by juvenile gang members, there has been an overall decline in drug abuse among Indiana youth. The use of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs all decreased from 1998 to 1999, particularly among middle school students. However, abuse levels reported by Indiana youth still exceed the national average for most drugs.

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Drug abuse is a significant health, social, public safety, and economic problem in Indiana. Approximately 30,000 rural Indiana residents required publicly funded substance abuse treatment in 1998. According to the Prevention Needs Assessment conducted by the Institute for Drug Abuse Prevention, in 1996 more than 27,000 pregnant women in rural Indiana sought support in substance abuse prevention programs. In the three rural counties included in the assessment, 5.6 percent of newborns tested positive for drugs.

Healthcare and disease statistics also suggest significant drug abuse in Indiana. There has been an increase in the number of HIV diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths associated with the sharing of needles among drug abusers. Rural counties accounted for 16 percent of the new drug-related HIV and AIDS cases in 1997, up from 8 percent in 1995. Of the 86 new HIV cases reported in rural Indiana in 1997, 21 percent involved injection drug use.

Drug use is widespread among arrestees in Indiana, regardless of the offense. According to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program, 74 percent of adult arrestees in Indianapolis tested positive for the use of illegal drugs, compared with 67 percent nationwide. The number of juvenile arrestees in urban and rural areas testing positive for drug use is also high. According to the Indiana Youth Institute, the number of juveniles arrested on drug charges statewide increased from 667 in 1990 to 3,159 in 1998.

In 1999, the Indiana Department of Corrections reported that approximately 80 percent of state prisoners had a significant abuse history. The Department's Reception and Diagnostic Center staff and drug abuse counselors assigned to the prison system conservatively suggest that drug abuse is a direct causative factor in up to 50 percent of criminal offenses. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute also reports a significant history of drug abuse among 70 to 80 percent of criminal offenders and estimates that more than 25 percent of adult males are incarcerated for crimes directly related to drugs or alcohol. The Marion County Superior Court reports that of the nearly 11,000 felony cases filed in 1998, 19 percent were drug-related. Drugs were associated with 62 percent of assaults, 52 percent of child abuse incidents, 68 percent of manslaughter charges, and 49 percent of murders

Drug abuse among prison inmates is also widespread. A study by the Indiana Division of Mental Health estimates that 61 percent--an estimated 15,000 in 1996--of inmates are dependent on alcohol or other drugs. According to the same study, a large number of juvenile detainees abuse drugs: 61 percent abused marijuana and 27 percent abused other drugs. Officials estimate that among state prison inmates who abuse drugs, about half began using them by age 15.

Chart 3. Adults Arrested for Drug Crimes in Indiana
Overview - Indiana Drug Threat Assessment (10)
d-link Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Report, 1997.

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What is the sentence for a Level 2 drug felony in Indiana? ›

A person who commits a Level 2 felony shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between ten (10) and thirty (30) years, with the advisory sentence being seventeen and one-half (17 1/2) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). As added by P.L.158-2013, SEC.

What is the DEA National drug threat Assessment? ›

NDIC's annual National Drug Threat Assessments gives policymakers and counterdrug executives timely, predictive reports on the threat of drugs, gangs, and violence. We synthesize the views of local, state, regional, and federal agencies to produce a comprehensive picture of these threats.

What is a felony drug charge in Indiana? ›

As written in this section of Indiana drug laws, a person caught in possession of a narcotic drug in Indiana can face a Level 5 felony charge if the amount of the drug involved is at least 5 but less than 10 grams; or the amount of the drug involved is less than 5 grams and an enhancing circumstance applies.

Is drug possession a felony in Indiana? ›

Possession is a Level 4 felony if the amount of the drug involved was less at least ten grams but less than 28 grams. (Increases to a Level 3 felony if an enhancing circumstance involved.) Level 5 felony. Possession is a Level 5 felony if the amount of drug involved was five grams or more but less than ten grams.

What is the sentence for a Level 3 drug felony in Indiana? ›

Finally, a Level 3 felony calls for a prison term of 3 to 16 years, with a 9-year advisory sentence. The penalties can increase if you have aggravating factors such as a prior offense, possession of a firearm during the offense or evidence of an intent to distribute or sell the drugs.

What are Level 1 and Level 2 felonies in Indiana? ›

Level 1 Felony: Carries a penalty of 20 to 50 years. Level 2 Felony: Carries a penalty of 10 to 30 years. Level 3 Felony: Carries a penalty of 3 to 20 years. Level 4 Felony: Carries a penalty of 2 to 12 years.

What is the DEA acceptance rate? ›

The process of becoming a DEA agent isn't an easy one. Only about 5% of applicants are hired. The process starts with having to pass a physical task assessment that includes push-ups, sit-ups, a 300-meter sprint and a one-and-a-half mile run.

What triggers a DEA investigation? ›

Some of the DEA red flags that may trigger an investigation include: -A doctor prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. -A doctor prescribing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice. -A doctor prescribing controlled substances to known drug addicts or ...

What is the DEA written test like? ›

The test is multiple choice. Candidates are asked to write an essay based upon a reading a scenario that presents 10 - 15 facts. Applicants are graded on their writing skills, their attention to details and their ability to evaluate information and draw conclusions.

How do you beat a drug charge in Indiana? ›

Possible Defenses

There are many reasons someone facing a felony drug charge in Indiana might choose to plead not guilty. Some of the most common defenses used to fight a potential conviction include the lab making errors, the drugs in question not being yours, or being the subject of an unlawful search and seizure.

How many grams is a felony in Indiana? ›

Growing any amount of marijuana is also illegal in Indiana. The most basic charge is the Class B misdemeanor. But, if the individual has a prior drug conviction, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If the amount grown is more than 30 grams, they can be charged with a Level 6 felony.

What is the most serious felony in Indiana? ›

Felonies. Murder: This is the most serious charge one can face under Indiana law. The sentence for a murder conviction is a fixed term between forty-five (45) and sixty-five (65) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

What is the statute of limitations on felony drug charges in Indiana? ›

Drug investigators must file charges within five years to prosecute you for these drug offenses unless the charge is a Level 2 felony.

How long do you go to jail for drug possession in Indiana? ›

Indiana Laws and Penalties
Less than 30 gMisdemeanor1 year
30 g - less than 10 lbsFelony6 months - 2 1/2 years
10 lbs or moreFelony1 - 6 years
To a minorFelony1 - 6 years
25 more rows

What is a Level 6 felony in Indiana for drugs? ›

Possessing more than 30 grams—or having a prior conviction for possession of marijuana—will automatically turn the Class A misdemeanor charge into a Level 6 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of two-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

What does a Level 2 felony mean in Indiana? ›

Level 2 Felonies

A person convicted of a level 2 felony faces 10 to 30 years in prison (advisory sentence of 17 ½ years). Level 2 felonies include voluntary manslaughter, child sex trafficking, and kidnapping for ransom.

What are the sentences for drugs in Indiana? ›

Possession of a controlled substance. This is a Class D felony in Indiana, punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Dealing with a controlled substance. This crime is a Class B felony that is punishable by 6 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

What is the lowest level felony in Indiana? ›

Level 6 Felony: A Level 6 felony is the lowest level of felony in Indiana. It carries a penalty upon conviction of a fixed term between six (6) months and two and one half (2 1/2) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.

What is the sentence for drug possession in Indiana? ›

Indiana Drug Possession Laws

Under Indiana possession laws, anyone who is in possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.


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