The DEA 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, confirms that heroin has become far more widespread. The report also reveals where it is produced and how it enters the US.
According to data from law-enforcement agencies, the report cites, heroin is now more available in every region of the country, up from 2008. That’s about the time, our country began slowing down control of our borders.
The heroin is coming from just two countries.
“Most of the heroin available in the United States comes from Mexico and Colombia,” the DEA notes in its report.
“Despite significant decreases in Colombian heroin production between 2001 and 2009,” the report adds, “South American heroin continues to be the predominant type available in eastern US markets.”
Mexico and Colombia dominate the market for the drug due to “their proximity, established transportation and distribution infrastructure, and ability to satisfy US heroin demand.”
Undoubtedly, the open borders are a big invitation.
Mexican cartels have grown their share of the heroin market tremendously in recent years. Together, Mexican drug traffickers smuggled nearly a quarter-million pounds of heroin into the US in 2014, according to The Washington Post.
The report finds that white-powder heroin made from Mexican poppies, but produced using South American methods, has been seized near the southwest American border and along trafficking routes that Mexican cartels have established.
Mexican black-tar heroin, historically found west of the Mississippi River, has also started appearing in the eastern US.
The Mexican Sinoloa cartel has offered free meth in New York City and on Long Island as the Colombian cartels once did. They are mixing the meth in with the shipments of heroine and cocaine to get people hooked.
Increased smuggling has been met with more vigilant law-enforcement efforts, and seizures along the border have jumped, from 1,016 kilograms in 2010 to 2,188 kilograms in 2014. Heroin is also being seized at airports in Miami, Newark, New York City, and Orlando on a regular basis.
This production, the DEA notes, likely indicates that not only are Mexican drug organizations breaking free from a reliance on South American production, but also that they are aiming to take more extensive control over the US market for heroin.
In addition to increasing their heroin sales, this would allow Mexican organizations to diversify the kind of drugs they push to include cocaine, meth, and marijuana in addition to heroin.
Mexican organizations have made a dramatic shift toward opium-poppy cultivation, reaching 17,000 hectares in 2014, an amount the DEA says could produce 42 metric tons of heroin. Colombia, in contrast, only had 800 hectares of opium-poppy cultivation that year, which the DEA says could produce just two metric tons of heroin.
Much of the opium cultivation in Mexico takes place on the mountainous west coast. This area is dominated by the immensely powerful Sinaloa cartel, as well as the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel. (The two organizations are suspected of cooperating to some extent.)
The Sinaloa cartel, regarded as the most powerful drug-trafficking cartel in the Western Hemisphere and in the world, already provided “80% of the heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine — with a street value of $3 billion — that floods the Chicago region each year,” in 2013, the DEA said at the time.
Heroin use in the US is more common in the Northeast and Midwest regions, and Mexican cartels are, according to the DEA, trying to expand their share of sales in those areas.
“Mexican organizations are now the most prominent wholesale-level heroin traffickers in the DEA Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC FD AOR [field division area of responsibility], and have greatly expanded their presence in the New York City area.
We must close these borders.
The outlook for heroin use in the US is grim. The criminal organizations that produce and transport it are making concerted efforts to increase their offerings, and the low cost and high demand ensure that America’s latest poison of choice will remain in high supply.
According to government data, drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin increased 244% between 2007 and 2013, a surge likely to continue unabated.
“Heroin use and overdose deaths are likely to continue to increase in the near term,” the DEA concludes.
Earlier this year, The Houston Chronicle posted a stunning 68-page internal assessment report on the effects of border control in Texas, but what is of greatest concern is the danger that currently exists because our borders are not secured. “Seven of the eight major Mexican cartels operate throughout Texas and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime,” according to the report.
Once they are in Texas, they can easily travel to any other state and they do.
We have a steady unabated flow of drugs through our borders and we have an increased presence of illegal alien gangs like MS-13 to help dispense the drugs. The message being sent is clear. The time is ripe and the opportunity is the best cartels could hope for.