White House drug czar John Walters and outgoing Drug Enforcement Administration head Karen Tandy traveled to Bogota, Colombia to proclaim that crackdowns in Mexico, Colombia, and the U.S. are having an impact on drug supplies, reports the Washington Post. Back in Washington, local police investigators said that they had no statistical evidence to back the DEA’s claim but that dealers appear to be fighting over a dwindling product. They said that could be contributing to a recent rise in other crimes, such as homicides and robberies. When supplies are scarce, some dealers turn to other crimes to make money.
Washington has had 165 homicides this year, a 12 percent increase compared with last year. Because many cases are unsolved, authorities can’t say how many are drug-related. Cocaine prices have increased in Washington and 36 other U.S. cities, DEA said. Walters made similar pronouncements in 2005 but drew criticism when prices flattened. Officials said this year’s data are significant because the price of a pure gram had not varied more than a few dollars since 2005. “It’s unprecedented,” Walters said last week before setting off for South America. “This is not only the deepest shortage but it’s the longest we’ve ever seen.”