Mexican cartels: ready to meet Americans’ insatiable appetite for illegal narcotics

Methamphetamine, also known as crystal methDEA: Meth making Illinois comeback via Mexican cartels

The Drug Enforcement Agency says Illinois’ meth problem is re-emerging and it’s not from domestic production. It’s coming from Mexico and one solution to combat the problem may be as simple as education.

DEA St. Louis Field Division Special Agent in Charge James Shorba oversees the southern third of Illinois, from Springfield down to Illinois’ southern border. He also oversees some of the Quad Cities, the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

 Shroba said there’s sometimes a “hyperfocus” on the significant problem of opioid abuse.

“I don’t know if it’s fair to say that we have a methamphetamine problem or an opioid problem, or a cocaine problem,” Shroba said. “Some Americans have an insatiable appetite for illegal narcotics.”

While the rates of overdose on meth don’t equal that of opioid overdose, “it’s still at alarmingly high rate,” Shroba said. “We forget that Mexican transnational organizations are the predominant producers of methamphetamine in the western hemisphere and they have an overabundant supply which has saturated streets all across America, in particular cities like Kansas City, St. Louis, [and] Fairview Heights.”

He said efforts years ago to curb domestic production of meth in makeshift labs worked.

“But as the government has enacted different legislation by, for example, placing pseudoephedrine-based cold medicine behind the counter at a pharmacy, it’s acted as a disincentive for individuals to make it themselves,” Shroba said. “Well, in steps the Mexican cartels.”

 The street price of meth indicates a saturated market.

“Between 2007, if you were going to buy a gram of 100 percent pure methamphetamine in the US market,” Shroba said, “that would cost you about 300 bucks. In 2017, that would cost you about $65.”

There’s so much meth out there from Mexico Shroba said “our information is the cartels are restricting supply, so that they can bring the price back up.”

Just like on a popular TV show, the DEA can pinpoint where the meth flooding Illinois streets is coming from “because of the minerals that may be in the water or the concentration of other elements that might be present in that narcotic allows us to pin it down to a particular trafficking organization that made it,” Shroba said.

There are some interesting ways to get the narcotic across the border to places like Chicago, Kansas City or St. Louis.

  “You’re only limited by your imagination,” Shroba said. “I’ve seen everything from trafficking organizations using semi-submersible submarines to fishing vessels, high speed boats that are stripped down, put extra engines and all they have gasoline and narcotics on board.”

Then, Shroba said, there’s the sad stories of people being used as human mules to carry drugs over the border.

Shroba said the DEA assists in busting the big time drug dealers.

“We target the biggest and baddest drug dealers that are there, that are bringing in significant quantities to places like Belleville, and Fairview Heights or Springfield.”

But, Shroba said, “We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem.”

“We have to have aggressive education programs in schools,” Shroba said. “We have to invest in the right places.”

“It’s those new first-time users,” Shroba said, “or those individuals who are potentially the new first-time users that we have to get to and we’ve got to get to them when they’re in grade school.”


One Response

  1. That poison is the most addictive and destructive drug of them all,and I applaud the dea for going after the maniacs that produce and sell that crap. One suggestion though,how about not saturating young peoples brains with Ritalin,and keeping them away from moms diet pills.

    I learned years ago when I was working side by side with law enforcement,that a lot of that poison is made right here,in the good ole USA,in rural areas throughout the country. Hopefully they are looking there also.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: