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Measuring the Criminal Justice System Impacts of the Increased Presence of Methamphetamine in the Bakken Oil Formation

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2019
105 pages
This study collected, assessed, and analyzed data from the Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs) of nine states and their localities in the Bakken oil region and those located along the distribution routes used by Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), so as to determine the availability and use of illegal drugs in general and methamphetamine in particular, as well as the associated impacts on the criminal justice systems of these jurisdictions.
The nine target states studied were Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Four tribal nations included in the study were Fort Peek, Fort Berthold, Tohono O'odham, and Navajo Nation. Overall, the findings suggest an increased presence of methamphetamine in the Bakken region corresponding with the Bakken oil boom; however, increases in methamphetamine in the states and localities along Mexican DTO distribution routes could not be linked directly to the oil boom. Interviews indicated that methamphetamine is now being primarily trafficked from Mexico rather than from domestic labs. Among the states and localities in the Bakken region, the quantitative and qualitative data collected and analyzed showed increased criminal activity in general and methamphetamine-related offenses in particular. Some increases were found in trans-shipment states and localities, but researchers could not make a connection between these and the Bakken oil boom. Issues with the availability and quality of data were encountered in every state and locality of interest, so this report advises that the analyses presented should be interpreted with caution. This report acknowledges that this research is only a beginning to unpacking the links between crime, methamphetamine-related crime specifically, and economic booms. 25 figures, 6 tables, references, and appended data summaries and methodological details

Date Published: July 1, 2019