When you observe illegal aliens pouring over our border, guess who is coming among them? The biggest experts in trafficking, producing, and cooking the deadliest drugs for the most dangerous Mexican cartels. That is the gist of the conversation I had with Robert Murphy, special agent in charge of Atlanta’s DEA office, after his successful bust of what he called a “huge and sophisticated” meth lab run by agents of the Cartel New Generation Jalisco (CNGJ) in an affluent suburb of the Atlanta metro area.
About 72,000 people died in America in 2017 from drugs, mainly illicit drugs brought in by the Mexican cartels. But now, with meth growing in popularity among all the cartels, they are cooking it on our soil, using networks of illegal aliens brought in for that purpose. In this case, the DEA busted up a highly sophisticated meth lab run exclusively by Mexican nationals in six locations in and around the Atlanta metro area. All but one of those arrested were in the country illegally, according to Agent Murphy.
“This has been a long-term investigation,” said Murphy, who has spent 28 years in law enforcement and now runs all DEA operations in the southeast. “We knew they were in the process of making a major cook and it was going to hit the streets. We had no idea we were going to find the size and sophistication of what we found. They were taking the liquid meth that had crossed over the border in Texas and converting it back into solid meth.”
Who was doing the production and distribution?
Only one person was in the country on some sort of legal status, and they were all working for CNGJ. Mexican nationals absolutely control the entire methamphetamine smuggling process, and it’s all coming from the border – from the smuggling and the processing and the initial distribution all the way through the mid-level of trafficking. There’s a nonstop flow of illegals willing to make the trip over for the amount of money they are going to earn from the cartels.
Murphy noted that the direct shipments are controlled by CNGJ, but other indirect shipments coming from the western states often come from Sinaloa or other cartels. The entirety of the problem they are experiencing with drugs in the southeastern states is coming from across the border and being trafficked, and now even cooked, by illegal alien networks working for the cartels.
Thus, once again, we see that the drug problem is not an internal problem with health care and pain medication; it’s being driven by the open border and fueled by criminal alien networks working for the cartels because we don’t fully enforce our laws internally.
While Murphy noted that much of the marijuana and cocaine are backpacked over the border between points of entry, the meth is now coming over in liquid form, which is easier to transport in vehicles at the points of entry. The cartels then have their networks “convert the product back to a solid with the use of diesel and acetone,” as in the operation they discovered in Milton, Ga.
This was an unbelievable size lab, the screening processes, the chemicals we found, 400 pounds of finished product was seized in total. We’ve never seen anything this size and sophistication. This wasn’t a couple of guys reading about drugs on the internet; these were people who came from Mexico educated on how to do it. The cartels don’t trust some low-level people with that amount of product. They got the training in Mexico and did the same thing here and were brought here for that purpose.
These are the type of people the cartels bring into our country while the Central Americans are tying down the border agents. When I asked Murphey about the suggestion that the liquid form of drugs could not be stopped between points of entry because they come in through vehicles at the checkpoints, he laughed at the notion that this somehow takes the onus of the drug crisis away from illegal immigration.
The people coming across the border to make and distribute the drugs are coming here illegally. You can drive all the liquid meth you want here, but you still have to have the people to do it, and they are not coming across at checkpoints; they are sneaking across the border. The people who are here operating the networks are all illegal immigrants.
This is the central point missed by the media, according to Murphy. If we had border security and interior enforcement and made it so that illegals couldn’t come here or remain in the country and thrive undetected by law enforcement, the cartels would have no network to work with. Drugs can’t distribute themselves.
We are arguing about the wrong thing here. It’s not the product that matters. The product doesn’t sell itself or produce itself. It’s the people who make the cartel run, collect the cash, do the distribution, engage in violence, and run operations for the cartel. Those are what’s essential. The product is an after-fact. Without the people, the cartels have no success.
What would happen if we actually deterred illegal immigration at the border and in the interior? Murphy tells me the cartels would essentially be out of business, because “it would drive up their costs.”
What we see here in Atlanta and we know pretty much the same in the whole southeast, 100 percent of the meth trafficking is controlled by the cartels – every point, from the production in Mexico, the crossing into the U.S., the conversion for crystal meth sale here, the high level of distribution, and then the actual collection of proceeds, and then back into Mexico. Predominantly, what we arrest here is illegal aliens. Sure, you might find some Americans who would be willing to go to Mexico and work for the cartels, but it won’t be the level that they need to have the control of the U.S. market like they do now with the illegals and Mexican nationals.
Think about that: When it comes to drug arrests, the DEA is now arresting almost exclusively illegal aliens (or foreign nationals working with them) working for the Mexican cartels. Yet Congress passed almost unanimously a bill creating multiple leniencies for drug traffickers, where those leniencies will go to people like those running this meth lab for Jalisco cartel!
Thus we see that the entire drug crisis is a border and illegal immigration problem, and as such, much of what is driving the incarceration rate that the liberals complain about is also illegal immigration. Yet we treat drug trafficking as a domestic crime issue rather than chemical warfare by cartels through illegal immigration.
And that is when we even treat the drug crisis as a criminal issue at all. As I’ve noted in my year-long series on the misdiagnosis of the drug crisis, the political class has focused entirely on prescriptions as the culprit, when really it’s not pain patients who are overdosing on prescriptions at all, but kids who are getting hooked on illicit drugs peddled by the cartels. Now, if your teenager makes one mistake, he is dead without any second chance.
Murphy confirmed to me that even among illicit drugs, the two fastest-growing problems are meth and cocaine, which do the opposite of opioids and painkillers. “Our biggest threat here in the southeast by far is methamphetamine; it’s not even close. However, the other thing the media isn’t talking about [that] the DEA is seeing across the country is the unbelievable amount of cocaine seizures. The Mexicans control the distribution of cocaine as well and no longer rely completely on the Colombians for all the stages of the cocaine trafficking, which is why it’s being brought over the land border as well.”
In previous eras, cocaine was mainly trafficked by Colombian cartels by water, not over the land border. Now, everything is coming in though the Mexican cartels.
Who would have thought they’d have a diesel drug plant with hazmat chemicals right in a neighborhood full of million-dollar homes in Milton, Georgia? Sadly, it’s not just at the border, but in our neighborhoods. With the cartels in our communities, every neighborhood is a border town. “You talk about destruction of the environment? In this case they rented six really nice houses in a really expensive neighborhood and destroyed these houses and contaminated a rural neighborhood.”
“They were essentially poisoning the American people with diesel fuel and acetone,” said Murphy.
The question is, how many more people need to die before we speak the truth about the source and nature of the drug crisis?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.