Mexican Heroin Seeps Into Rural US

Mexican cartels push the drug into the heartland
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2009 11:29 AM CDT
Mexican Heroin Seeps Into Rural US
Police officials guard an armored truck holding cartel detainees during a news conference at the Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City, Friday, May 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

As the battle between drug cartels and law enforcement rages in Mexico, traffickers are gaining footholds in America's Heartland. Ohio saw heroin-related deaths spread into 18 new counties between 2004 and 2007, just one indication that dealers aren't limited to big cities. "It's like going to pick up beer," a former user tells the New York Times.

Despite a crackdown in Mexico, the export of potent black-tar heroin has grown. Some pushers are illegal immigrants frustrated at the difficulties in finding a job; others are hand-picked by Mexican cartels and smuggled into the country. The constant stream of new dispatchers and runners makes clearing up local cells "like sweeping sunshine off the roof," says a DEA employee.
(More heroin stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.