DEA: Major drug cartel operating in the North State

Nov 17, 2015 8:29 PM by Josh Navarro

A cartel led by one of Mexico's most notorious drug lords is operating right here in the North State. That's according to a new DEA report, and it's not just illegal marijuana grows but much harder drugs as well.

This year's National Drug Threat Assessment Summary states Mexican Drug Cartels continue to be the biggest criminal drug threat to the United States. We reviewed the report that shows their influence on American soil.

One of the maps in the report shows California shaded mostly in orange, which indicates most of the drugs are coming from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, run by their infamous leader Joaquin "El Ghapo” Guzman.

"Profit margins are far greater when you’re dealing with heroine cocaine and meth," said Tristan Reed, an analyst specialized in Mexican Organized Crime for Stratford, a global intelligence firm based out of Austin, Texas.

In fact the report shows here in the Pacific region, meth and heroin make up the greatest drug threats. From various law enforcement agencies more than 55 percent say meth is the greatest problem and heroin is second more than 33 percent.

"A lot of drugs come up along the coast, the west coast of the united states. Mexican drug traffickers have a particular concentration in Baja California, California is a trans-shipment point for the rest of the country," said Reed.

The Sinaloa Cartel is known for digging tunnels in Southern California underneath the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Once drugs are over the border and onto U.S. Soil, the cartels often uses tractor trailers, driven by older people who might draw less attention from authorities

"California's population is immense, and it's right next to the border, so there's a lot of trafficking that goes on at the Tijuana into San Diego area. Going further up, and Mexican organized crime also has ties to Canadian organized crime, which California is going to play a corridor to that nexes as well, so it’s actually there's many reason why cartels operate in California," said Reed.

According to Reed, the only way to curb the push of drugs into the U.S. is by international cooperation. The DEA report shows the amount of heroin seizures have doubled nationwide since 2010 while the number of heroin users has risen by 51% in just the last two years.

You can read the DEA report in its entirety here.


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