Organized crime cannot exist without political protection. That is an old law enforcement adage you can take to the bank when studying the nexus of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Both are among the highest-profile, most visible, and most preventable forms of crime — if our politicians actually wanted them stopped. Meanwhile, the media is continuing to distract people by debating how much of the actual drug product comes in between points of entry, as opposed to at points of entry, rather than focusing on the people who actually organize, produce, and traffic the drugs and the politicians who protect them.
Our country is no longer facing a simple drug crisis, it is facing a chemical warfare crisis from Mexican cartels and the illegal aliens who peddle the drugs, usually coming in between points of entry. First it was the fentanyl-laced heroin, then it was the bizarre mix of meth or cocaine with fentanyl (an opioid with a psychostimulant); now they are marketing fake blue “Mexican oxy” pills that kids take for a “buzz” but all too often are found dead because they are really mixed with fentanyl to varying degrees.
Over the weekend, the AP reported on the surge of fentanyl deaths in Arizona and how young kids are now dying from these Mexican oxy pills that are laced with fentanyl and produced by the Sinaloa cartel. I confirmed with the Phoenix DEA office that the main hubs for trafficking these drugs into the country are in Tucson and Phoenix, where high-level “wholesale” cartel officials are operating and shipping to distributors in the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the East Coast after the drugs are brought across the border. According to the Arizona DEA, in fiscal year 2017, they seized 45,940 pills. That number shot up to 379,557 in FY 2018 and stood at 123,000 just for the first three months of FY 2019. It’s all coming from the Sinaloa cartel and is brought in mainly in the Nogales area and sent to the vast network of cartel officials in the major Arizona cities. They also confirmed that the increase is driven by fake Xanax pills as well as fake oxy.
What the media and most in Congress have missed about this poly-drug crisis (not opioid crisis) for the past few years is that it’s not being fueled by chronic pain patients on painkillers. It’s the worsening of the culture among our youth who are seeking a buzz or an out from their mental and emotional problems. That cultural demand is being met by the deadliest drugs we’ve ever been confronted with. This is why as synthetical opioids have surged, Arizona state and federal officials have seized 124 percent more meth in FY 2018 than in the previous year. Meth has the opposite effect of opioids and would certainly not be sought out by pain patients.
This is why there are major problems with drugs in schools in San Luis, a border town in Yuma County. The Yuma Police Department put out a warning this month about “recent overdose incidents in San Luis, Arizona” from ingested pills that look like oxys but contain fentanyl. We can intimidate doctors into never prescribing pain medication and we could harm post-operation and cancer patients from now until the end of time, but it will do nothing to protect our youth who get ensnared into the culture of drugs so long as the cartels are able to operate with impunity and make the price of these drugs cheap and therefore accessible to kids.
But the problem is not just in border counties and states. That is the wholesale point for the cartels, and funnily, they try to keep the violence to a minimum so as not to disrupt their operation. It’s more at the destination and distribution level on the East Coast where the violence of transnational gangs mixes with drug distribution for the cartels.
This is where we see that cartels not only have control of our border, but operate with latitude on our shores and have endless illegal alien and transnational criminal networks working for them in all our major cities and even mid-sized cities on the East Coast. This is the key to understanding how illegal immigration is driving the drug crisis.
A network of six drug traffickers in the Carolinas working for Cartel Jalisco New Generation, one of the rivals of the Sinaloa cartel, was recently broken up by federal authorities. They were moving large amounts of meth and cocaine for this brutal cartel, and all of them were illegal aliens. Central North Carolina is now dealing with cartel violence.
So why do liberals continue to deny that illegal immigration is driving the crisis?
To begin with, as we’ve pointed out before, the entire notion that drugs only come in at points of entry is laughable. Tell that to the ranchers who deal with the drug trafficking every day. Obviously, we don’t have hard statistics because we catch almost none of those drugs, given that the cartels purposely use illegal immigrants to tie down the border agents while they strategically bring in the drugs and the criminals who cook, distribute, and collect profits from them. As Mark Morgan, Border Patrol chief during the Obama administration, told CR, “There is no way with any degree of certainty to know the quantity of drugs entering our country because at least 50 percent of the southwest border is wide open.” He explained how “we know the cartels exploit this vulnerability every day while using illegal immigration as a diversion.”
“Additionally, the irony with this false narrative is the same people who acknowledge massive amounts of drugs are seized at the POEs to debunk the need for a physical barrier are the same individuals who deny there is a crisis.”
Robert Murphy, special agent in charge of Atlanta’s DEA office, told CR in an exclusive interview last week, “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.” And while a lot of the drugs come in at points of entry, “the people coming across the border to make and distribute the drugs are coming here illegally.” As Murphy warned, “The people who are here operating the networks are all illegal immigrants” and “are not coming in at checkpoints.”
Illegal immigration fuels the cartels in multiple ways. The magnets that attract illegal immigration give the cartels billions in revenue to produce and grow their drug trafficking. The cartels orchestrate strategic diversions of illegal immigrants engaging Border Patrol agents. Also, teenagers often serve as drug mules because the cartels know we won’t prosecute them. Even the more innocent illegal immigrants are often forced to report to stash houses on our side of the border after being released by agents pursuant to court orders in order to pay off their debt.
It’s really simple. If we pursued interior enforcement, banned sanctuary cities, and ended catch-and-release at our border, which enables the cartel smuggling, they wouldn’t have a profitable drug network that could operate in this country. It’s not about the product; it’s about the people doing it, and the people doing it always have political protection in the illegal immigration issue.
Immigration and drug officials in New England have told me they could clean up the drug problem there in no time if they had the license to actually follow immigration law and simply remove all those aliens engaging in drug trafficking in Lawrence, Massachusetts, many of whom have family or organizational ties.
Why don’t we do it? Because illegal immigrants and drug traffickers have political protection. The whole reason the war on drugs has been unsuccessful is because the combined elements of law enforcement have not been focused on the human chain between the border and point of ingestion of the illegal drugs.
Look no further than the local politics of the Rio Grande Valley, which has been the hot spot of illegal immigration for years. How can human and drug smuggling continue to thrive out in the open? The New York Times summed it up this week in lessons learned from the El Chapo trial:
El Gallo — Tomas Reyes Gonzalez, a drug trafficker now in federal prison — supplied the cash to the former Hidalgo County sheriff, Guadalupe Trevino, for his re-election campaign. Another former Hidalgo County sheriff took bribes to allow a convicted drug dealer to have conjugal visits at the county jail, including in the jail library and in the sheriff’s private office. Yet another former sheriff in neighboring Cameron County protected and assisted cocaine dealers, and is now Federal Inmate No. 51689-179.
The corruption that took down those three border sheriffs in 1994, 2005 and 2014 continues today. Next month, the former police chief in the town of La Joya is scheduled to go on trial, after he was indicted on drug charges and accused by federal authorities of helping a drug-trafficking organization transport narcotics while working as a police sergeant in Progreso, Tex.
Now, keep in mind that the liberal Rio Grande Valley is the only region where the budget bill allows Trump to build fencing, yet local officials are purposely given veto power. Jaeson Jones, a retired captain for the Texas Department of Public Safety who directed counter-narcotics and counter-smuggling operations for years, told me that local officials in these counties wouldn’t even allow them to cut down the tall grass around the Rio Grande River where the cartel operatives would hide out.
In other words, the lesson of drugs and migrants is that the flow can only continue if the political powers both in Washington and around our border want it to. And they do.
What would you call this statement made by Elizabeth Warren?
Donald Trump’s ridiculous wall isn’t a “national emergency.” But our country’s opioid crisis is. Rep. Elijah @ReElectCummings and I are proposing big, structural change to fix it. https://t.co/V9PZ6xgcbp
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 20, 2019
With the incontrovertible data that prescriptions have plummeted and that most overdose deaths are due to illicit drugs trafficked by illegal alien networks, for a politician to say we need to stop focusing on Mexican cartels and start focusing even more on cutting off pain medication to those in need is the ultimate political corruption.
Until we address the systemic upstream political corruption, the drug issue will only intensify along with the illegal immigration crisis.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.