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Rising scourge of methamphetamine in America : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, October 26, 1995 online

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^ RISING SCOURGE OF METHAMPHETAMINE IN

AMERICA

Y 4. J 89/1:104-49

, Rising Scourge of HetharipfcetaniBe i...

V nr.AKlNG

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



OCTOBER 26, 1995



Serial No. 49







Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052548-9



RISING SCOURGE OF METHAMPHETAMINE IN
AMERICA



Y 4. J 89/1; 104-49

Rising Scourge of flethanphetanine 1...

nrji\riING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAKY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



OCTOBER 26, 1995



Serial No. 49




*.« ijt%i



May 23



Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052548-9



COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois. Chairman

CARLXDS J. MOORHEAD, California JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado

Wisconsin BARNEY FRANK, MassachusetU

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York

GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

HOWARD COBLE. North Carolina RICK BOUCHER. Virginia

LAMAR SMITH. Texas JOHN BRYANT. Texas

STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico JACK REED. Rhode Island

ELTON GALLEGLY, California JERROLD NADLER, New York

CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia

BOB INGLIS, South Carolina MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina

BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia XAVIER BECERRA, California

STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana JOSE E. SERRANO, New York

MARTIN R. HOKE. Ohio ZOE LOFGREN. California

SONNY BONO. California SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina
ED BRYANT. Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MICHAEL PATRICK FLANAGAN. Illinois
BOB BARR. Georgia

Alan F. Coffey, Jr.. General Counsel/ Staff Director
Julian Epstein, Minority Staff Director



Subcommittee on Crime

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman

STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York

STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia

HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ZOE LOFGREN, California

FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas

ED BRYANT, Tennessee MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georigia

Paul J. McNulty, Chief Counsel

Glenn R. Schmitt, Counsel

Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Counsel

Tom Diaz, Minority Counsel



(II)



CONTENTS



HEARING DATE



Page
October 26, 1995 1

OPENING STATEMENT

McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida,

and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime 1

WITNESSES

Constantine, Thomas A., Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration,
U.S. Department of Justice 7

Mayer, Lt. Ed, task force commander, Jackson County Narcotics Enforcement
Team, Jackson County, OR 30

Sanchez, Sgt. John, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix, AZ 36

Waller, David, special agent, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lake-
land, FL 46

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING

Constantine, Thomas A., Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration,
U.S. Department of Justice: Prepared statement 13

Mayer, Lt. Ed, task force commander, Jackson County Narcotics Enforcement

Team, Jackson County, OR: Prepared statement 36

Sanchez, Sgt. John, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix, AZ: Pre-
pared statement 44

Waller, David, special agent, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lake-
land, FL: Prepared statement 48



(III)



RISmG SCOURGE OF METHAMPHETAMINE E^
AMERICA



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1995

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:38 a.m., in room
2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Stephen E. Buyer, How-
ard Coble, Fred Heineman, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, Steve Chabot,
Charles E. Schumer, Robert C. Scott, Zoe Lofgren, and Sheila Jack-
son Lee.

Also present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Glenn R. Schmitt,
counsel; Daniel J. Bryant, assistant counsel, Aerin D. Dunkle, re-
search assistant; Audray Clement, secretary; and Tom Diaz, minor-
ity counsel.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN McCOLLUM

Mr. McCollum. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime is
called to order.

This morning's hearing focuses on a rapidly growing threat to
our Nation, methamphetamine. Better known as "speed," "crank,"
or "crystal," methamphetamine is no longer confined to California
and the Southwest. Methamphetamine production, trafficking, and
distribution is on the rise, and spreading east, devastating some
communities much like cocaine did in the 1980's.

Emergency room methamphetamine episodes in major metropoli-
tan areas increased 164 percent from 1992 to 1994. Deaths involv-
ing methamphetamine in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Fran-
cisco increased 130 percent from 1991 to 1994, and increased na-
tionally by 144 percent. In Phoenix, AZ, methamphetamine-related
deaths increased from 11 in 1991 to 122 in 1994. Phoenix law en-
forcement authorities now report spending 60 percent of their time
working on cases involving methamphetamine. In my own State of
Florida, there have been seizures of clandestine methamphetamine
labs as recently as this month, including the seizure of a large lab
in Polk County just this past weekend. It's sobering, but true: we
face a growing epidemic.

The profits involved in the methamphetamine trade are enor-
mous. An investment of $500 in chemicals yields about 1 poimd of
methamphetamine and sells for around $3,000 in California, and
up to $18,500 elsewhere in the United States.

(1)



Methamphetamine causes longer highs than cocaine, lasting any-
where between 4 and 8 hours from a single dose. As abusers de-
velop a tolerance to the drug, they typically increase the dosage,
often 'iDingeing" for several days. When high doses are taken chron-
ically, psychotic reactions with paranoid delusions often result. A
methamphetamine high is also cheaper than a cocaine high: a
small chunk of methamphetamine crystal can produce multiple
dosages and cost only $20.

Methamphetamine poses unique challenges to law enforcement
authorities. Methamphetamine, processed in clandestine labs, often
located in remote areas, makes them more difficult to detect. The
labs are relatively easy to construct and easily abandoned. Authori-
ties report that methamphetamine labs are increasing in size and
production capability. Despite the many advancements in inves-
tigative techniques and forensic technology to deal with the clan-
destine labs, their operators often outstrip the limited resources of
State and Federal law enforcement. And, most disturbingly, meth-
amphetamine lab operators and traffickers are becoming more vio-
lent and are increasingly involved in drug-related crimes. Stories
about violent and bizarre crimes attributed to methamphetamine
are becoming frequent, leading to some who call methamphet-
amine, "the most lethal substance to hit the streets in America's
35-year war on drugs." The 1994 methamphetamine-related mur-
der of DEA Agent Richard Fass is a sobering reminder of the vio-
lence associated with methamphetamine trafficking. In short,
methamphetamine represents a dangerous, time-consuming, and
expensive investigative challenge to law enforcement.

Over the last 8 years, Mexican drug organizations have replaced
motorcycle gangs as the major methamphetamine producers and
traffickers. Mexican methamphetamine traffickers have established
large clandestine labs in remote locations throughout the South-
west, and have saturated the Western U.S. market with high pu-
rity methamphetamine, leading to lower prices. In 1991, a pound
of methamphetamine cost $6,000. The current price per pound in
California is about $3,000.

Efforts to control the precursor chemicals used to manufacture
methamphetamine have proven difficult. By the late 1980's, meth-
amphetamine traffickers and clandestine lab operators discovered^^^^
the ease with which a precursor chemical, ephedrine, could be con^nr
verted to methamphetamine. Congress responded in 1988, impos-
ing controls upon bulk ephedrine powder. While the act regulated
bulk ephedrine, it exempted over-the-counter ephedrine products
such as tablets and capsules. Methamphetamine traffickers adapt-
ed, and began to divert ephedrine from international commerce and
use ephedrine tablets to manufacture methamphetamine.

Again Congress responded, and in 1994, it closed the ephedrine
loophole. Clandestine lab operators, in turn, quickly switched to the
use of pseudoephedrine as their methamphetamine precursor
chemical. In 1994, 28 clandestine methamphetamine labs using
pseudoephedrine were seized by the DEA. The DEA reports that
many tons of pseudoephedrine tablets are now being supplied for
methamphetamine production by a handful of mail-order distribu-
tors. This pattern. Congress acting, and the methamphetamine pro-



ducers and traffickers adapting and circumventing, has too often
characterized the regulatory effort to control over the years.

Mexican drug organizations have developed a network of inter-
national source and transit countries that provides them with a
virtual unlimited supply of the methamphetamine precursor chemi-
cals. In March 1994, Customs Service seized 3.4 metric tons of
ephedrine intended to travel directly from Frankfurt to Mexico
City, but accidentally routed through the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport.
Four months later they seized a 2.3 metric ton shipments at the
same location. The DBA estimates that more than 70 tons of
ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, manufactured in the Czecho-
sfovakian Republic and brokered through Switzerland, were
shipped to Mexico during this time.

As the volume of international ephedrine diversion has become
clear, diplomatic efforts have been undertaken with the exporting
and transife-eeuntrj es involv ed. As a result of close cooperation with
the SwisC-Szfifihis^X^^i^i^^d Indian Governments, as well as the
Mexican and GiiaEeTnHtan Governments, during a 1-year period in
1994, nearly 20 metric tons of ephedrine were intercepted. This
amount of ephedrine would have produced close to 16 tons of meth-
amphetamine on the streets.

I look forward today to hearing how the international efforts to
control methamphetamine precursor drugs are progressing. I also
look forward to hearing about the advisability of placing additional
controls on certain pseudoephedrine products. I know the DEA has
been working closely with the pharmaceutical industry to arrive at
a workable solution. And I hope that today we get a clearer picture
of understanding of how law enforcement at the Federal, State, and
local levels is dealing with the methamphetamine epidemic, and
what Congress might do to support their efforts.

I also particularly look forward to hearing from the witnesses
today, including my friend Tom Constantine, who is here with us.
Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. But before
we turn to the witnesses, I would like to yield to my good friend
and colleague Mr. Schumer of New York for any comments he
might have.
Mr. ScHUMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for these timely hear-
First, I'd like to welcome another distinguished New Yorker, Ad-
ministrator Constantine, who did a fine job in New York State and
now is doing the same here in Washington. I look forward with
great interest to hearing what Mr. Constantine has to say about
methamphetamine.

Let's make no mistake about it. Methamphetamine, crank, or
speed is a frighteningly dangerous drug. It destroys lives and
minds and families every bit as much, and in some cases perhaps
more, as cocaine and heroine. No, crank is not a new problem. As
you know, Mr. Chairman, this Congress has addressed the problem
of methamphetamine before. In 1988, in fact, we enacted controls
over the precursor chemicals from which methamphetamine is
made, and last year we strengthened some of these provisions. I re-
member when drug use really increased in the late 1960's and
early 1970's methamphetamine was a drug that one heard about
all the time. Then it declined some. And I think as the charts show,



it's back on the increase and you can never be too careful, you can
never be too vigilant with a drug with as severe and dynamic ef-
fects as methamphetamine.

But I do want to see the hard numbers. I think we should be

very careful in looking at how this drug is spreading and what re-

\ sources should be used against it. When you use a term like "epi-

\ idemic" or "deluge," that may be appropriate. But we don't have

\ / enough resources in this whole area of drug enforcement it's like

^VjT' a cover, you know a blanket, that has to cover eight kids in a little

)\ bed. If you don't have enough, you've got to decide where to put the

/ \greatest resources.

I'd like to make a few other points. I've been very concerned
about the cooperation of the Mexican Grovernment. In methamphet-
amine, it's more important than in other areas because, of course,
unlike cocaine, the drug doesn't have to be grown in Mexico, but
can be made out of chemicals, can be made completely internally
in Mexico and sent here. So if the Mexican Government is not
doing all that it can to crack down, and we hear reports about this
all the time, I think we have to be careful.

Third point I'd to make is this is an area that demands coopera-
tion between our law enforcement agencies because methamphet-
amine can come from either in or out of the country, being a chemi-
cal base. We need the DEA and FBI to cooperate completely, and
I hope that is happening.

Finally, I'd make one other point. As everyone on this committee
knows, I believe in tough enforcement, but I also believe in smart
prevention. Here we are having a hearing on the dangers of meth-
amphetamine and yet in our crime bill we just knocked almost all
the money for drug courts. We've got to hit the supply side and the
demand side. And drug courts are ideal at getting young people,
new types of users, which we're worried about with methamphet-
amine, off drugs instead of just slapping them with a probationary
sentence or even a small jail sentence. They come out and use the
drug again. So, let's be a little honest here. We are cutting back
on one of the important, not the only, but one of the important
ways to stop the spread of this drug. And we shouldn't be taking
away with one hand what we say we're doing with the other.

So, if we're going to be asked to crack down on methamphet-
amine, which we should do, I want to be sure that we have a solid
record. I want to be sure that we do things on both the supply, en-
forcement side, and on the demand side. And we want to know
clearly all its effect on users. And for that latter purpose, I think
that this is a useful hearing.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much. Would anybody else like
to make an opening comment?

Mr. Chabot. Mr. Chairman. Rather than an opening statement,
I just have one question.

Mr. Schumer just mentioned in the crime bill that we passed this
year that we knocked out funding for the drug court. My under-
standing of what we did was that we gave the States more flexibil-
ity to use the crime bill money in whatever way they saw fit includ-
ing drugs courts if they chose to do that. So I don't think that we
did knock out funding for drug courts. I think what we did was to
say that those States and local communities who want to have drug



courts, that's perfectly fine. If they choose to hire more police offi-
cers or improve the type of weapons they have, they can do that.
Whatever works in that particularly community.

So, I share many of the sentiments and many of the comments
that my friend from New York said, but I do think that just to be
fair — because I am very supportive of drug courts. I was a county
commissioner, before I got here, in Hamilton County which in-
cludes Cincinnati. And I worked as county commissioner to obtain
drug courts along with my colleague John Dowen who has been a
leader in that area. We're very supportive of drug courts. I just
want to

Mr. ScHUMER. If the gentleman would yield?

Mr. Chabot. I'd be happy to yield.

Mr. ScHUMER. First, I want to say that in our — in my battle to
keep drug courts going, the gentleman has been a strong ally and
supporter, and I don't doubt for 1 minute his concern. I would sim-
ply say that when you do a block grant and leave it to the discre-
tion of either the Governor or local officials rather than say — and
we put a significant amount of money in the crime bill last year,
$2 billion, to go to drug courts, the odds are very strong that we
will not have drug courts. I know in my city, lots of people like
drug courts. But, because it's new and because we have such trou-
ble keeping the existing law enforcement services up to snuff, drug
courts get the short end of the stick. And it is my belief— and I
know this hearing we don't debate this — ^but if you just make it dis-
cretionary, put it in a block grant, and when the block grant
doesn't have enough money to do all the jobs, an area like drug
courts, which most localities haven't tried, will not — maybe because
of the gentleman's efforts Hamilton County will do it, but, I'll bet
if you ask people who believe in drug courts would they rather
have a directed program or would they rather have a big block
grant where everybody fights, they'd go for the former.

Mr. Chabot. Reclaiming my time — I appreciate the gentleman's
views. I do have tremendous faith and trust in local government
personnel, and believe that they are the best people to determine
now they should use that funding. And I think we did the right
thing in the bill earlier this year, and I yield back the balance of
my time.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chabot. Yes, Mr. Scott.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, just very briefly. I hope the rationale
and our votes could come a little bit closer, because as we talk
about the importance of drug courts, I think it's important to note
that we cut the funding in this block grant by 20 percent, and we
also, just this week or last week, voted on a provision to give a 5-
year mandatory minimum to those convicted of possession only of
crack cocaine where the drug court information would clearly show
us that rehabilitation was not only cheaper but much more effec-
tive. So, I hope that we can remember the words we are reciting
today and try to get that more in compliance with the conformity
with the votes we are casting.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCOLLUM. If I could, I just want to make one comment,
Mr. Scott, if you'd vield on your time.

Mr. ScoiT. I yield.



Mr. McCoLLUM. Under the appropriations bill we just worked
out or passed, the block grant part is identical to what we passed
in the authorization last year, $2 billion. So, we did allot that
amount of money.

Mr. SCHUMER. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. Scott. My understanding was that there was $12.5 billion
total, cops and prevention. Cops and prevention block designations
were eliminated, and the block grant was not 12.5 but 10.

Mr. ScHUMER. Would the gentleman yield?

Mr. Scott. I'll yield to the gentleman.

Mr. ScHUMER. Sure we had a block grant provision, but in addi-
tion, we had drug courts; in addition, we had cops on the beat; in
addition we had a number of other programs, both punishment and
prevention. It is, in my judgment, not fair to say, "Oh, well we had
the same level block grant. Out of that block grant must come ev-
erything. There is less overall money for law enforcement, police,
prisons, and prevention, in the total bill passed by the Republican
Congress than there was in our bill.

Mr. Chabot. Reclaiming my time — I think the total is the same,
but we shifted $2.5 billion from cops and prevention into prisons.

Mr. McCoLLUM. If you would yield — I think there's just a point
of difference in perception as to where we're coming from. We're
really talking about the same thing. There's no question that the
combined amount of money in the authorization bill is smaller. But
the key to this is the appropriations. And the appropriations money
that is put in the appropriations bill for these block grants matched
what we projected it would for this purpose, for this coming year.

So, that's my point. It's not that you're wrong about what you
said, if you want to look at it from the authorization stand point.
But in the appropriations, the bottom line of what you actually
send out, this year— I just wanted to make that point. It really

>^ isn't. So it's

-^ Mr. Scott. For the projection for the following years?

^ Mr. McCoLLUM. I don't know what it's going to be.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Bryant, anybody else want to make a state-
ment? Mr. Heineman.

Mr. Heineman. No, I have no statement.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Then I'd like to introduce our first witness, if I
could.

The subcommittee is please to introduce the distinguished wit-
ness who is Thomas Constantine. We always want to pronounce
your name "Constanteen," I know it's Constantine. I don't know
why, it's like Constantinople or whatever, but it's Constantine, and
I apologize, Tom.

He is the Administrator — we know you're the Administrator of
the Drug Enforcement Administration, you've been up here with us
before. We're really delighted to have you here today, but I do
think that I should give you a formal introduction.

Administrator Constantine began his law enforcement career m
1960 as a deputy with the Erie County Sheriffs Department. In
1962, he entered the New York State Police as a trooper, and later
served as a narcotics and major crime investigator. Sergeant, lieu-
tenant, captain major, assistant deputy superintendent, and even-



tually superintendent of the New York State Police. Administrator
Constantine was the first superintendent to rise through the ranks
being appointed the 10th superintendent in December 1986 by
former Gov. Mario Cuomo. In addition to receiving numerous
awards for his contribution to his profession, Mr. Constantine holds
the position of fourth vice president of the International Associa-
tion of Police Chiefs.

While he has this really super background, that I just described
to you, Tom Constantine is right now in the position in his career,
in my judgment, that's the most significant of all as the Adminis-
trator of the DEA. Today vou're here to talk to us about meth-
amphetamine, I just visited California a couple of weeks ago and
toured one of the Federal prisons. They were telling me about the
numbers, which seemed startling, of the percentage of those pris-
oners in that particular Federal prison who are associated with
methamphetamine. So, I'm very interested in hearing from the per-
spective of DEA of where we are with this. Please proceed.

STATEMENT OF THOMAS A. CONSTANTINE, ADMINISTRATOR,
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT
OF JUSTICE

Mr. Constantine. Thank you, Congressman.

The derivative of the name is — my grandfather came from Ire-
land and the name was Casadine. I m told he couldn't spell, and
that's the name they gave him at Ellis Island. So, that's why it was
always drummed into my head to pronounce it that way.

Thank you for the opportunity for this hearing because it does
come at a very opportune time. I agree with the Congressman that
it is important to be very careful about evaluating drug trends and
concerns.

Let me give you the information that we have that indicates a
growing trafficking and usage of methamphetamine and perhaps
some of its impact. The first is from empirical evidence derived
from the medical community. There has been an increase in over-
dose deaths. We have a chart up there which gives you percent-
ages, but just to give you some of the figures: In Phoenix, AZ, in

1992 where there were 20 overdose deaths of methamphetamine, in
1994 there were 122 overdose deaths in Phoenix. In Hawaii, meth-
amphetamine-related deaths tripled from 12 to 36 just between

1993 and 1994.

A second area that we looked at is the hospital room admissions,
what they call the DAWN Report of individuals who are seeking


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JRising scourge of methamphetamine in America : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, October 26, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 9)