Jacksonville, Florida is a major market for the distribution and transport of illegal drugs and drug operations, according to a recent report from the National Drug Intelligence Center. The report indicates that Jacksonville, Florida is the primary drug market in the North Florida region (which includes Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns and other surrounding counties) and a significant stopping point for illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy that are then transported to other major drug markets from Miami to Atlanta. Mexican and other Hispanic groups have large criminal drug operations that work in and through Jacksonville. Indoor cannabis (marijuana) plant operations have increased exponentially in the Jacksonville area. Seizures of indoor cannabis plants have increased by 277% in the Jacksonville/North Florida area from 2005 – 2007.
The report indicates that the biggest threat to the Jacksonville area is cocaine and crack distribution and abuse due to the prevalence of the drugs, the violence associated with them and the cocaine and crack related treatment needs. The report pessimistically indicates that demand for cocaine and crack, particularly, and heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy to a lesser extent, in the Jacksonville area is, and will remain, strong, and Mexican and other drug trafficking organizations will continue to meet the demand. The report also notes that violent crime in Jacksonville has increased. White the study did not directly correlate the abuse of cocaine, crack and other drugs to the increase in violent crime, it did suggest, as common sense would, a likely connection. With the increase in demand and supply of these drugs in the Jacksonville area, it is reasonable to suggest the increase in violent crime would continue as well.