Saturday, April 30, 2016

Awash in Mexican heroin

When federal officials talk about a flood of heroin entering the country, they are not exaggerating. In recent years the amount of heroin produced in Mexico has more than doubled – from less than 60 tons to more than 140 tons last year. It’s cheap. It’s plentiful. And all of it is destined for buyers in the United States. There is so much of the powerful opiate either sold here or in transit through New Mexico to other parts of the U.S. that local busts involving pounds of the narcotic worth six figures hardly make news. Heroin addiction once seemed more like a New Mexico problem since the state was always at the top of the nation in per-capita overdose deaths. But now, as heroin overdoses hit small towns in the Midwest and the suburbs on the East Coast, the outcry is national as cheap Mexican heroin has filled a market void left by the crackdown on prescription pain killers like Oxycontin and Percocet. New Mexico, as a border state, is a transit state for all drugs coming north from Mexico, whether the drugs are smuggled into California, Arizona or through the ports of entry in southern New Mexico or El Paso. Waite said part of the equation in reducing the amount of heroin and other drugs is seizing those drugs when they are being moved through New Mexico. A drug organization based in Hobbs, for example, can get heroin and methamphetamine from their “homies” in Albuquerque, who in turn took delivery of the drugs from associates in Phoenix. State Police, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies routinely seize heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine originating in Tijuana passing through New Mexico on the way east to Chicago, Kansas City, Cincinnati and points north and east. The drugs are transported on trains, commercial buses, rental cars or semi-trucks...more

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