Mexican drug traffickers have turned Charlotte into a key distribution point for “black tar” heroin in North Carolina.
Heroin-related arrests here have jumped. And while officials have not seen an increase in drug-related violence, they worry that could change. Thousands have died in Mexico as drug cartels fight for lucrative smuggling routes into the United States – and the violence is starting to spill across the border. Other U.S. cities where cartels have toeholds have seen a rash of murders and kidnappings…
John Emerson, assistant special agent in charge for the N.C. bureau of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said Mexican drug organizations have taken over most of the Charlotte heroin market while Colombian heroin feeds addicts in Raleigh-Durham.
Emerson would not disclose how many Mexican cells operate in Charlotte, but said there are “multiple…”
The cartels don’t discriminate among customers. They sell their drugs to low-income users and uptown bankers, police and treatment officials say. And they’re increasingly selling to young people…
Statewide, heroin seizures increased 77 percent last year, according to the DEA. Federal drug-enforcement officials said the increase in drug trafficking is a direct correlation with immigration.
Charlotte has one of the country’s fastest growing immigrant populations. An estimated 390,000 illegal immigrants live in North Carolina, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
No one with a brain is suggesting that immigrants are by definition responsible for the location of drug distribution. But, having a population with a perceived self-interest in not cooperating with law officials makes it easier for thugs and gangsters to hide in that community.