Skip to main content

DEA Releases Annual Threat Assessment, PA Set to Ban Xylazine, More... (5/10/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1211)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) gets banned from a fifth Native American reservation over her cartel comments, 18 are dead in prohibition-related violence in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, and more.

Xyzaline, also known as "tranq." It will soon be a controlled substance in Pennsylvania. (Creative Commons)
Drug Policy

DEA Releases Annual Drug Threat Assessment; Does Not Note Role of Prohibition in Exacerbating Harms. The DEA on Thursday released its National Drug Threat Assessment 2024, saying the country is "in the most dangerous and deadly drug crisis the United States has ever faced" and citing "the shift from plant-based drugs, like heroin and cocaine, to synthetic, chemical-based drugs, like fentanyl and methamphetamine."

Repeating decades of prohibitionist policy prescriptions, the DEA's assessment focuses on interdiction, with the agency saying its "top priority is reducing the supply of deadly drugs in our country and defeating the two cartels responsible for the vast majority of drug trafficking in the United States."

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram added that, "At the heart of the synthetic drug crisis are the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels and their associates" and vowed renewed efforts "to target these networks and save lives."

The announcement of the report's release did not mention the word "marijuana," nor did it address why decades of failed interdiction and suppression policies should be followed by more of the same.

Pennsylvania Governor Ready to Sign Xylazine Ban Bill. Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) will sign a bill making the animal sedative xylazine -- popularly known as "tranq" -- a Schedule III controlled substance. The drug, which does not respond to opioid overdose reversal drugs, is increasingly evident in the drug supply and is linked to a growing number of overdose deaths.

Under state law, Schedule III drugs are substances or chemicals defined as having a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Other drugs in the same category include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone. The illicit use or distribution of Schedule III drugs carries penalties of up to 30 years in prison.

The measure, House Bill 1661, won final approval in the legislature on Wednesday.

The legislation builds on Shapiro's executive order last year moving to restrict access to the drug, which has been linked to more than 3,000 overdose deaths nationwide by the DEA and numerous deaths in Pennsylvania.

South Dakota Governor Now Banned from Fifth Reservation over Cartel Remarks. It's not just dog lovers who have a bone to pick with Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who has recently become infamous for writing about how she shot and killed one of her puppies. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban her from entering the reservation because of remarks claiming that tribal leaders on South Dakota reservations were in cahoots with Mexican drug cartels.

"As Tribal leaders, it is our duty to honor the voice of our people. Although, it is always a goal to engage in constructive dialogue with our political counterparts at the federal and state level, it is equally important we take actions that protect our values, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment, and preventing further marginalization of tribal nations," the council said.

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is the fifth tribe to ban Noem from tribal lands, following the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.


Mexico Prohibition-Related Violence Leaves 18 Dead in Zacatecas. State prosecutors in the west-central state of Zacatecas said Thursday that at least 18 people had been killed in cartel-related violence, with nine bodies deposited in the town of Fresnillo on Wednesday and nine more left in the city of Morelos a day earlier.

The bodies were found after drug gang members blocked roads and burned vehicles in the wake of the arrest of 13 gang members by local authorities. Some of the bodies were found with signs warning rival gangs that this could be their fate, too.

Zacatecas is a key transit point for drugs heading north to the US market and has been the scene of vicious turf wars between the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels. It is also now one of the deadliest states in Mexico. The US State Department has warned citizens to "do not travel" to Zacatecas.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.