The Obama administration’s failure to protect the southern border has allowed Mexican cartels to smuggle
record amounts of drugs into the United States, especially heroin, which is increasingly popular in the U.S.
Once the drugs get smuggled north Mexican traffickers use street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs to
distribute them throughout the country much like a legitimate business enterprise.This has been going on for
years and there seems to be no end in sight, according to a disturbing new report published by the
Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with policy and
legal analysis. “Mexican transnational criminal organizations are the major suppliers and key producers of
most illegal drugs smuggled into the United States,” the CRS states in its new report. “They have been increasing
their share of the U.S. drug market—particularly with respect to heroin.” The bulk of the heroin smuggled into the
United States transits across the Southwest border, the CRS writes, revealing that “from 2010 to 2015 heroin
seizures in this area more than doubled from 1,016 kg to 2,524 kg.”
The trend mirrors the increase in overall seizures throughout the U.S., the CRS figures show. For instance,
federal arrests and prosecutions of heroin traffickers have skyrocketed with 6,353 heroin-related arrests in
2015. Additionally, the number of individuals sentenced for heroin trafficking offenses in federal courts
has increased by almost 50%, the report says.
There are at least eight major Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating in the United States
with the Sinaloa Cartel being the most active, the CRS reveals. “Mexican transnational criminal
organizations (MTCOs) remain the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other
group can challenge them in the near term.” They operate sophisticated enterprises, using nearly
100 U.S. gangs in their cross-border crimes, government figures show.
Because the Mexican cartels move their drugs through the Southwest border, western states
have become part of what’s known as the “heroin transit zone,” the CRS report says. “In addition,
as the Mexican traffickers take on a larger role in the U.S. heroin market, and expand their operations
to the East Coast, authorities have seen black tar heroin emerge in the Northeastern United States,
where it had rarely been seen,” the report states. Large quantities of a synthetic opioid known as Fentanyl are
also entering the U.S. primarily via the Mexican border, though the drug also comes from China. Fentanyl
is 25-40 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more potent than morphine.
Undoubtedly, there’s an epidemic of drug abuse in the U.S. but cutting off the source would obviously
improve the crisis. This may seem like common sense, but the CRS gently reminds legislators to
consider it. “Policymakers may examine U.S. efforts to combat heroin trafficking as a means of combatting
opioid abuse in the United States,” the CRS writes in its report. “Policymakers may also look
at existing federal strategies on drug control, transnational crime, and Southwest border crime
to evaluate whether they are able to target the current heroin trafficking threat.” Among the
common-sense suggestions listed in the document is “securing U.S. borders.” It comes from the
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which has made disrupting drug trafficking and
production a priority.
The impact of Mexican drug cartels has been well documented for some time in a number
of government audits,even as the Obama administration insists the southern border is secure.
Less than a year ago the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a report confirming that
the majority of illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain
the greatest criminal threat to the United States. They’re classified as Transitional Criminal
Organizations (TCOs) by the government and for years they’ve smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin,
cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.