The Criminal Element: Drug Trafficking in Texas

For decades now, drug trafficking has been a major problem in Texas – a factor that can be attributed to its proximity to the Mexican border and ease of crossing into the large Southwestern state.

Mexican Drug Cartels

Generally, millions of dollars worth of methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and marijuana are manufactured by major Mexican drug cartels and then transported into Texas where the market is – to bluntly put it – ripe. While the greater Dallas and Fort Worth area serves as the primary distribution hub in Texas, it is in Houston where most of the bulk ends up.

The Smugglers

The drug cartels are usually well connected and to some extent, really innovative when it comes to transporting the drugs into the US. Traditionally, the Mexican gangs would not use stereotypical smugglers as expected, but rather, opt for proxies consisting of Texas residents or in some cases, teenagers who couldn’t be suspected at the porous border. The well connected organizations would bribe corrupt border federal agents to let their stashed trucks through without search. However, as the Federal government increased the crack downs on trafficking, the organizations had to find other ways to smuggle in their stash.

Federal Law, A Deterrent to a Degree

In recent times, cartels have been smuggling smaller stashes in order to remain inconspicuous. The larger Mexican organizations have even built underground tunnels complete with ventilation systems and large pathways – big enough to comfortably get smugglers through to Houston, Fort Worth and the larger Dallas area.

It is worth noting that most of these gangs are driven by moneyed individuals who if it weren’t for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) would easily get away with drug trafficking. The Act simply allows leaders of cartels to be tried for crimes which they ordered – unlike the past when such individuals would be exempt from trial just because they didn’t personally commit the act.

In a nutshell, the porous border remains a huge problem for the larger Texas state and until stringent measures are put in place, it will remain the elephant in the room in Southwest US.

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