MSU economist maps U.S. cocaine trafficking

Jun 26, 2014

MSU professor Dr. Siddharth Chandra has devised a map that tracks cocaine trafficking across U.S. cities. Red circles indicate cities where cocaine is least expensive. These are often hub cities from which cocaine is distributed. Blue circles show destination cities where cocaine is most expensive.
Credit Siddharth Chandra

Last month, a federal judge sentenced a 90 year old Indiana man to three years in prison for his role in transporting more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine into Michigan. The man’s age spurred new attention to an old problem.  Illegal drug trafficking is an ongoing epidemic across the United States. Now, a Michigan State University professor has created a new way to track the flow of cocaine into the country.

Dr. Siddharth Chandra talks to Current State about how he’s taken publicly available data from the National Drug Intelligence Center and created a map that links U.S. cities based on the cost of cocaine in those locations. The map indicates where cocaine is coming from and where it’s going.

He says prices don’t just tell us how much it is going to cost for you to buy something, they carry a lot of additional information.