Mexican meth arrives in the Heartland
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
Just when drug agents in the heartland thought they were getting the methamphetamine epidemic under control, another problem crops up.
In Southeast Missouri, Highway Patrol figures show the number of labs dropped drastically from the year before, but investigators say the focus now is on imported meth.
Agents say it comes from Mexico and California.
They call it part of the Mexican Mafia's push to control drug sales across the country.
"It was really surprising to have it happen this close to our kids," Susan Swain and her family moved into the small community of Frisbee in Dunklin County, they had no idea they moved into the middle of the meth war.
"There were a lot of police cars that showed up, and people were handcuffed," Swain says, as she looks at the mobile home across from her house.
Drug agents found four pounds of methamphetamine inside the home. The Mexican citizens inside, also turned out to be illegal aliens.
"They were approached by people from Mexico who said here's an opportunity to make money. Take these drugs back up sell them in your area. That's how a lot of these people work," Sgt. Kevin Glaser with the SEMO Drug Task Force explains.
Glaser is talking about the Mexican Mafia; an organized crime network that started back in the 1950s in the California prison system. Experts say members would proudly wear tattoos showing off their affiliation to the gang.
Glaser says drug lords have since, expanded their operations to control drug sales across the country.
"Most of the intelligence we have from the DEA and federal agencies show that Mexican drug cartels are behind the push getting ice methamphetamine into this country," Glaser says.
He adds that a lot of that meth, like the pound they found in a truck on Thursday, estimated at a street value of $50,000, shows up in Southeast Missouri.
"In a matter of 60 days we've taken in a total of nine pounds of methamphetamine in three separate incidents," Glaser says.
So how then, do you know if your neighborhood may be influenced by the Mexican Mafia and their drug trade?
"if you start seeing a lot of Hispanic or Mexican type graffiti, that's certainly an indicator, something could be wrong," Glaser says.
It's advice Susan Swain plans on taking to heart.
"It's scary for your kids. You want to keep them as safe as you can," she says.
Agents say its clear the demand for meth is still high, and that's why the drug continues to be imported here.