Mexico’s crackdown on drug cartels and increased U.S. border enforcement have disrupted the flow of illegal drugs and caused cocaine shortages in 37 U.S. cities, says a White House drug policy office study reported by the Washington Post. Cocaine prices have nearly doubled in some cities and soared from a nationwide average of $95.89 a gram during the first quarter of this year to $118.70 in the second quarter. Rising prices typically indicate reduced supplies. Larry Birns of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, a critic of U.S. drug policy, dismissed the numbers as “seasonal” blips.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has accused the White House of not coordinating sufficiently with Mexican law enforcement at a time when Mexican cartels penetrated nearly all regions of the U.S. and took in up to $23 billion annually in revenue. U.S. drug czar John Walters told the Post that a massive aid package to help Mexico fight drug cartels is imminent. It is expected to be the largest U.S. anti-drug endeavor overseas since the 2000 launch of Plan Colombia, a multibillion-dollar campaign to eradicate coca and erode support for Marxist rebels.