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Are Mexican Drug Cartels "Marketing" Heroin to Pain-Killer Addicts in St. Louis?

Categories: Crime, Drugs

Although this sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, it makes sense. Missouri isn't the biggest prescription-drug abuser, but it's up there: The state of Missouri ranks 20th in the nation, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

See also: Judge Who Bought Heroin "Daily" Faces 18 Months; His Dealer Gets 10 Years

afghan_poppy_fields.JPG
davric/wikimedia
A poppy field in Afghanistan.

And as any businessman knows, it's never a bad idea to go straight to the customer. But St. Louis has an especially acute problem due to its demographics and geography. First, its pill addicts are young (the National Institute on Drug Abuse says about 25 percent of its pill addicts in St. Louis are under the age of 24), which means they're more likely to experiment with a drug they haven't tried before. Also, St. Louis is close to Chicago, which is a major hub for heroin trafficking.

If you want to delve further into some serious conspiracy theories, the Sinaloa drug cartel, which is responsible for about 80 percent of the heroin in the U.S., is rumored to have worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration. According to a January article by Mexican newspaper El Universal, the DEA gave the Sinaloa cartel some freedom to run its heroin-slinging operations in return for information on other drug cartels.

See also: The Physiology of a Heroin Overdose

Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia, a professor at Columbia University, told El Universal that the tactic of cooperating with an illegal drug organization for other motives is something that has been done in Colombia, Cambodia, Thailand and Afghanistan since the 1980s.

And Myles Frechette, a former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, said the tactic helped reduce drug trafficking from that country.

The relationship reportedly lasted between 2000 and 2012, so if that's true, it could be over. Still, it allowed a drug cartel ten years to establish a network and apparently develop a clever marketing strategy of selling heroin to painkiller addicts in St. Louis.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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18 comments
Los Locos Richards
Los Locos Richards

this story is ludicrous,the USA CONTROLS THE HEROIN MARKETS,HINT ,,remember the phony war on terroism in Afghanasthan,the worlds top opium producer,well think about why we were their for 16 years

Travis Fischer
Travis Fischer

John Metz John TheoneandOnly Newport Tim J O'Connell

Tim Corkill
Tim Corkill

The government is just doing something with the misguided ones like when Reagan sprayed the weed with chemicals to kill off the potheads..

Mark Sullivan
Mark Sullivan

Ok, you morons thought legalizing would what? Stop the Cartels. Now can we just blow the crap out of them with High Explosives? No Pun Intended; That's what I'd call a war on drugs

Keith Jasken
Keith Jasken

Careful cartels, big pharma ain't gonna like you on their turf...

Nita Biffar
Nita Biffar

that's why the government won't legalize a lot of things, because they will lose way too much money. Why do you think we had a Vietnam war, biggest jump in Herion in history

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Stop giving out painkillers like candy. Make oxycontin a oncologist only script

TyroneJefferson
TyroneJefferson

The politically correct term is not mexican drug cartels.

Please refer to these poor hispanic entrepreneurs as "immigrant drug cartels".

Brandon Herges
Brandon Herges

There lies the other side of the double edged sword of legalization. Legalize it, they said. It'll shut down the cartels, they said.

Amy Lynn Wall
Amy Lynn Wall

The majority of mexican cartels synthesis to "black tar" heroin which is very rare in the STL area. Afghans synthesis to "china white" heroin which has exploded in the STL area in the past 10 years. The war in Afghanistan has produced a 300% increase in heroin in Europe & the US in the past 10 years.

Mifflin Rickey
Mifflin Rickey

The only "Cartel" importing this crap is the CIA, Afghanistan wasn't just about the pipeline. Opium production was a crime and the growers were persecuted by the Taliban until they were almost eradicated,then came 9/11.

Bart Cohn
Bart Cohn

I wouldn't trust the DEA on anything, the only thing they know about is perpetuating their own [unnecessary] salaries.

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

I wouldn't doubt it. Super. There isn't enough gang/drug violence happening here already.

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