This North Dakota City Has Been Named the High Drug Trafficking in the State

Drug trafficking is a serious problem that affects many communities across the United States. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operate in all 50 states and use various methods to smuggle, distribute, and sell illicit drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana. Some of these drugs are produced domestically, while others are imported from foreign countries such as Mexico, Colombia, China, and Canada.

One of the states that has been facing a surge in drug trafficking activity is North Dakota, which shares a 310-mile border with Canada. The state has seen an increase in drug seizures, arrests, overdoses, and deaths related to drug abuse in recent years . While drug trafficking affects the entire state, there is one city that has been named the high drug trafficking in the state by the DEA: Fargo.

Fargo: The High Drug Trafficking City in North Dakota

Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, with a population of about 124,000 people. It is also the economic, cultural, and educational center of the state, hosting several universities, businesses, and events. However, Fargo is also the hub of drug trafficking activity in North Dakota, according to the DEA.

In its 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment report, the DEA identified Fargo as one of the 13 high drug trafficking areas (HIDTAs) in the country. HIDTAs are regions that have been designated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as having significant drug trafficking activity that affects other parts of the country. Fargo is the only HIDTA in North Dakota, and one of the four HIDTAs in the Midwest region, along with Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

According to the DEA, Fargo is a major distribution center for various drugs that are transported from other states or countries, especially methamphetamine and fentanyl. Methamphetamine is the most prevalent and abused drug in North Dakota, and most of it comes from Mexico via California, Arizona, or Texas .

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and can be mixed with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or counterfeit pills . Fentanyl is mainly sourced from China or Mexico, and can be shipped through mail, express consignment, or hidden in vehicles .

The DEA also reported that Fargo is a destination for other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, which are supplied by DTOs from Mexico, Colombia, Canada, or other states. These drugs are often transported by couriers who use commercial or private vehicles, buses, trains, or planes to cross the border or travel within the state . The drugs are then distributed by local dealers or gangs, who use various locations such as hotels, motels, residences, businesses, or storage units to store, sell, or consume the drugs .

The Impact of Drug Trafficking on Fargo and North Dakota

The high level of drug trafficking activity in Fargo has had a negative impact on the city and the state in terms of public health, safety, and quality of life. Some of the consequences of drug trafficking include:

Increased drug abuse and addiction: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, there were 89 drug overdose deaths in the state in 2019, a 9% increase from 2018. Of these deaths, 58% involved opioids, 31% involved methamphetamine, and 14% involved cocaine.

Fargo accounted for 28% of the overdose deaths in the state, the highest among all cities. The number of people who sought treatment for substance use disorders also increased by 12% from 2018 to 2019, with methamphetamine being the most common primary drug of choice.

Increased crime and violence: According to the Fargo Police Department, there were 3,626 drug-related incidents in the city in 2019, a 12% increase from 2018. These incidents included drug possession, delivery, manufacturing, paraphernalia, and driving under the influence.

Drug trafficking also contributes to other crimes such as theft, robbery, assault, homicide, and domestic violence, as drug users or dealers may resort to violence to obtain money or drugs, or to settle disputes. In 2019, there were 15 homicides in North Dakota, of which six were related to drugs.

Increased social and economic costs: Drug trafficking imposes a heavy burden on the society and the economy, as it affects the well-being, productivity, and potential of the people who are involved or affected by drugs.

According to a study by the North Dakota State University, the total economic cost of substance abuse in North Dakota was estimated at $675 million in 2016, which included health care, criminal justice, lost productivity, and premature death. The study also estimated that each dollar spent on substance abuse prevention and treatment could save $4.31 in social costs.


Drug trafficking is a serious problem that affects Fargo and North Dakota, as well as the rest of the country. Fargo is the high drug trafficking city in the state, according to the DEA, as it serves as a major distribution center for various drugs that are smuggled, transported, and sold by DTOs. Drug trafficking has a negative impact on the public health, safety, and quality of life of the people who live in or visit the city and the state.

Therefore, it is important to address this problem through effective prevention, enforcement, treatment, and recovery strategies, involving the collaboration of various stakeholders such as law enforcement, health care, education, community, and media. By working together, we can reduce the supply and demand of drugs, and create a safer and healthier environment for everyone.

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