Skip to comments.Mexican Drug Cartels Present in Three Arkansas Cities
Posted on 04/22/2009 9:33:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Violent Mexican drug cartels have been making headlines in recent weeks.
And now comes word that the Department of Justice reports cartel organizations exist in 230 American cities.
Of alarming note for Arkansans is that three cities on the list are in the Natural State: Little Rock, Fort Smith and Fayetteville.
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor says coordination of counternarcotics enforcement among every level of government is critical in order to combat drug smuggling across the border and cartel infiltration of U.S. cities.
He held a Senate hearing Tuesday, entitled Counternarcotics Enforcement: Coordination at the Federal, State and Local Level, where Arkansas State Drug Director, Frances Flener, testified about the states current drug environment and the effectiveness of counter-drug programs.
The drugs and violence in Mexico is a national, state and local problem. Thats why combating this problem requires law enforcement -- at every level of government -- working together, Pryor said. Its evident that fostering cooperation and information-sharing works, and that we must bolster these resources to really get a grip on drug trafficking and use.
Pryor said there is common agreement that programs fostering a coordinated approach are effective, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The HIDTA program enables law enforcement to assess drug trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to reduce production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of drugs. Four counties in Arkansas -- Washington, Benton, Pulaski and Jefferson -- have the HIDTA designation.
Pryor recently included an amendment in the Senates Budget Resolution to increase the funding and counties that can participate in the program.
In her testimony, Flener said, One of the HIDTA programs most important contribution to the nation has been the partnerships it has nurtured among participating agencies. This has led to the leveraging of resources and sharing of intelligence through a regional coordinated approach.
Pryor is chairman of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on State, Local and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration.
They’d be out of business overnight if we ended the prohibition of certain drugs. If the price of cigarettes continue to rise they may even start selling those. lol
Mexican drug cartels have operations in 230 cities around the country? And our Dept of Justice knows this? Yet the recent report on terror threats focused on right wing extremists. It didn’t even mention these drug gangs as a domestic threat did it? It sounds like it should have, if these Mexican gangs are all over the country, far from the Mexican border.
Yet Obama wants to talk about right wing extremists, and ignore foreign drug gangs.
Where’s Hanging Judge Parker when you need him?
(Fort Smith resident here)
How much is a brick of cigs nowadays at the local greedy mart?
When a cartel from Mexico comes to a neighborhood near you they bring violence like head-cutting that you'll have to become calloused to.
At first, having severed heads tossed into a restaurant or bar might cause a few sleepless nights, but with enough media exposure might not be all that bad.
Around $40 for a carton of the good stuff. lol
Nothing like playing catch-up after years of denial or neglecting an issue.
Hey, didn’t the Clinton pigs live there at one time? Any of their friends caught up in drug scandals, yet?
Slowly ruining The Natural State.
Guess the USA is in an unstoppable decline now from sea to shining sea.
The Huckster deserves a lot of the credit for trying to destroy Arkansas.
“Pryor recently included an amendment in the Senates Budget Resolution to increase the funding and counties that can participate in the program.”
That’s what this is all about, more federal money for his state.
They are all over our country and the Dept. of Justice and the rest of the federal government know this. The DoJ says Mexico produced 15,500 metric tons of pot in 2007 and most of it came here. The feds say that Mexicans bring in and distribute about 90% of the cocaine (2nd most popular illegal drug) consumed in this country and better than 80% of the heroin and meth. Marijuana is their big money maker, because they sell thousands of tons of that compared to hundreds of tons of all the other illegal drugs combined. The other drugs piggy back in on the pot and are distributed through the same channels. They are by far the biggest wholesalers of illegal drugs in this country today, and have been for quite a while now. What's been changing slowly but surely is that they are taking an ever increasing role in distributing the drugs here in this country after they've been smuggled in. The drugs are changing hands fewer times after they leave the hands of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations, thus these organizations are making more of the profits. These drugs tend double in value several times from the point they leave Mexico to the point they end up in a consumers hands. They aren't usually the ones selling directly to consumers, because that's the way you get caught, but they are trying to get within a couple of layers above those who sell to consumers so they take a bigger percentage of the profits that will be made from the drugs from the time they leave their point of origin t the time they reach consumers’ hands.
It’s those damned gun shows and firearms dealers. Got’s to be!
Life in prison for dealers would help put a stop to this.
Or maybe go back to the very early days of handling serious crime — public hangings. That one would work for sure.
The country just can’t get serious enough about stopping drugs. Could be the pay-off is under the table... while the country goes up in smoke.
It would not stop it. Dealers do sometimes get life, especially in a state like Arkansas where selling any amount of a Schedule I or II substance like meth, cocaine, heroin, Oxycontin, etc., can get you up to life in prison. In many parts of the country even just small time dealers get very long sentences. Usually these people are drugs addicts though and they don't think about what they are doing and the trouble it could get them in. They have to have their dope.
“Or maybe go back to the very early days of handling serious crime public hangings. That one would work for sure.”
They do that in Iran. They've hung thousands of people for drug offenses over the past couple of decades, yet they have one of the world's worst problems with heroin.
Just upping the punishments wouldn't be enough. We'd have to go all out like Chairman Mao did. He fought a total war on drugs. Everyone knew they had to be good little commies or they'd disappear. He created a society of informants. People had no rights. The government shot people in the head without trials or with nothing but kangaroo court hearings. They became a totalitarian police state.
A Chairman Mao style war on drugs would probably cut way into drug dealing in use here, but we'll never go that far, hopefully. Hopefully we won't throw the Constitution out completely and become a totalitarian police state. But since we won't do that, everything we do will be a half measure that won't be particularly successful. Upping sentences is just a half measure doomed to fail. All it's ever done for us is fill our prisons. Drug dealers are a dime a dozen. We lock them up left and right but no one does without their drugs. They just buy from someone else.
I've prosecuted and defended in drug cases in a state where they are pretty darned “tough on drugs.” Most all the people going to prison on long sentences are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, small timers selling very small amounts of meth or cocaine or a few pills. We lock them up left and right and it doesn't make a lick of difference. Personally, I'd rather we use that space on thieves, child molesters, violent criminals, whatever, but it's not up to me.
If it was up to me we'd legalize pot and regulate it similar to alcohol. That would stop a lot of people from being introduced to the hard stuff because the same people bringing and distributing in all the pot are distributing the other drugs, especially in parts of the South like mine where Mexican marijuana is dirt cheap and completely dominates the market. The small time dealers we're wasting so much prison space on would end up being put into long term drug court programs where they would be required to work a job, pee in a cup at least once a week to see if they are staying clean, go to counseling and NA meetings, follow the program or go to jail. It should take two or three years to complete these programs and they should be a pain in the neck, like our drug courts are in my area. We'd try to reserve the prison space for the bigger dealers and all the other criminals. We'd try to get the small timers to learn to live like normal human beings, leaving the dope alone and working for a regular paycheck. It works for a lot of them too. Recidivism rates from drug courts are far lower than they are for people who do pen time.
On the hard drugs I think we just need to get used to the fact that we aren't going to be able to make them go away. I am convinced that short of going the way of Chairman Mao we just aren't going to ever put much of a dent in the drug problem with a law enforcement solution. I've been in this business for many years as an attorney. I've handled thousands of pounds worth of drug cases. I've watched what really goes on in the system. I've sat on drug court boards. I've heard all the talk about how we are going to be drug free as a country or as a state by such and such year, and of course it never happens. I've seen it all and heard it all and I know there isn't a snowball's chance in Hell that we are going to “win the war on drugs” without becoming the kind of country none of us want to live in.
We're stuck with this crap. It's a nuisance and we're going to have to deal with it, and if it were up to me we'd do so keeping in mind that we can only hope to achieve limited success and that whether we are giving up rights or giving up money we very quickly reach a point of diminishing returns using law enforcement and the criminal justice system to fight against drugs. We never stop the flow of drugs. We never make them too hard to find. But we sure spend a fortune trying, and cause all sorts of other problems along the way. I don't want to see us legalize drugs like meth and cocaine and heroin, but we darned sure need to constantly evaluate our progress or lack thereof and think about what is having a positive impact and what isn't, and try to get the most bang for our buck. As it is there is no thought about what works. All we do is throw more and more money at the problem, hire more cops, pass tougher laws that seem to be only good for overfilling our prisons so we have to build new ones. I'm just sick of it. It's a damned fiasco.
Sorry, but I just don’t agree.
If the punishment is severe enough (like 60 years for heroin dealers, 50 years meth dealers, 30 years pot dealers, etc.), and NO CHANCE OF PAROLE, AND NO DEALS PRE-TRIAL, then you better believe many folks would think twice before throwing away their life in the pen for cooking up meth or dealing weed.
Also, STOP IT AT THE BORDERS. PERIOD. 50 years for bringing it in the country, no parole, no deals. NONE.
If some few brave souls would want to continue the risk, fine. They would get caught at some point and spend lots of time in jail for helping to ruin the lives of many individuals and their families.
If you think this would not work better than our present system, you are just kidding yourself. And if you think drugs should just be legalized, you are deceived and no amount of discussion will convince you otherwise.
You want to give people 30 years with no parole for selling a little pot? That's crazy. It's way more time than we give far worse criminals. And no deals before trial? Do you know that nationwide only about two and a half percent of all felony cases ever make it to trial? I'd say at least a quarter of our felony cases here locally are drug cases. If we were to increase the number of jury trials several fold we'd need a corresponding increase in the number of judges, courtrooms, bailiff's, court reporters, clerks, prosecutors, public defenders, etc., etc. Jury duty would become a nightmare and we'd have to call in an awful lot more jurors. It just wouldn't be possible, not without spending several times what we currently spend on law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and public defenders, and our prisons, and taking up an awful lot more citizen time with jury duty.
And when you say no deals do you mean no more of this stuff where people that get caught go out and buy dope from someone else so they will stay out of prison? I'd kind of like to see most of that stop. In my area at least all that's how most drug dealing cases start. One person will get busted and the cops tell that person to go buy them a gram of meth or cocaine and they'll get a signature bond and a suspended sentence. They go make a taped buy from someone they don't think will hurt them, and they get off easy. These are almost always purchases of a gram or less, consequently most all drug delivery cases involve a gram or less of some powder drug or a couple of pills. The people that are getting busted aren't all big drug dealers, not by a long shot. Some of them probably really aren't even drug dealers, they're just dopers who thought they were doing a favor for a fellow doper in going to get them some dope.
“Also, STOP IT AT THE BORDERS. PERIOD.”
We can't stop this multibillion dollar trade at the borders or in this country.
“If you think this would not work better than our present system, you are just kidding yourself. “
If we were to increase prison times dramatically we probably would deter more people. There would still be drug dealers though and drugs would still be available. We'd be bankrupt, especially with this “no deals” policy, and all we'd see is a small reduction in the drug problem. We'd probably have an increase in thefts because those who sell small amounts of drugs to feed their habits would steal instead because the punishment would be far less severe if they get caught. I don't know though, people already get more prison time for selling a small amount of dope to another doper than they do for burglarizing homes and we have no shortage of people selling small amounts of drugs.
“And if you think drugs should just be legalized, you are deceived and no amount of discussion will convince you otherwise.”
I don't think all drugs should be legalized, just marijuana. It's just not worth it to continue trying to keep up the ban on that drug. It's not harmless, but it's nowhere near as bad as drugs like meth, cocaine, or heroin. It's not particularly addictive. It doesn't lead to a lot of risk taking or criminal behavior. It doesn't make people violent. A good 75% or so of all battery cases I've seen coming through the courts have involved drunks who get violent when they drink. You just don't see that with pot. A massive “war on pot” is just not warranted.
It is the backbone of the illegal drugs trade though. Mexican organized crime make most of their money from marijuana sales. By far more marijuana is consumed in this country than all other illegal drugs combined. The black market for illegal drugs is mostly a black market for marijuana, with all the marijuana users and sellers that far outnumber users and sellers of all other illegal drugs. Because it is used by so many people all over this country, the distribution networks for marijuana are bigger and reach far more people than distribution networks for other drugs. Consequently these distribution networks make perfect conduits through which organized crime who supply the marijuana can reach countless consumers with their other far more harmful drugs. If we were to take marijuana from them, not only would we deprive them of most of their income but the loss of the marijuana distribution networks and all the countless marijuana sellers who help them move their other drugs would be a severe blow to their infrastructure for their hard drugs business.
Prohibiting intoxicants for which there is a lot of demand never really works very well. We saw that with alcohol prohibition. It caused way more harm than good. It cut down on some of the drinking but as time went on even that gain was being lost as more people just started breaking the law and drinking illegally. Marijuana prohibition is causing all the same sorts of problems alcohol prohibition caused and then some. And we really have nothing good to show for it. Pot is easy to find anywhere in this country and it's cheaper than beer on a per use basis in most cases. We aren't making it such that people can't find it and they can't afford it if they can find it. We aren't really accomplishing anything good. We have among the highest marijuana use rates in the world even though we take the “war on marijuana” a lot more seriously than most countries. There are several counties where they basically allow people to smoke pot where the per capita percentage of marijuana users is lower than it is here. According to government numbers, more than half of all American adults under the age of 60 have tried marijuana. Over a 100 million Americans have tried it. We aren't stopping a darned thing.
Personally I think we do more harm than good if we were to legalize drugs like meth, cocaine and heroin though. Those drugs are far too addictive and prone to causing us all sorts of problems. Really very few people use those drugs and it appears that the lower the demand for a drug the more effective prohibition can be. Heroin is pretty much nonexistent in my area for instance. I've had more meth and cocaine cases than I can count, but only one heroin case and that was a drug mule case where a couple of guys were caught passing through on the highway with a kilo of it. Most cops here have never made a heroin arrest. Most lawyers have never had a heroin case. I'm sure we have some people in our area that would kind of like to try heroin, but odds are they won't ever see it in this area. That would change of course if we were to have it sold from a store here. Most people are smart enough not to mess with it but a few would and before long we'd have a small contingent of heroin addicts causing us lots of problems.
Other drugs like cocaine and meth are available here, but the fact that they are prohibited does make them less easy to procure. There are so many marijuana smokers from all walks of life it's no problem to get that, but if people want to mess with these other drugs they're going to have to befriend people who use them to buy super expensive product cut with who knows what sold by shifty drug addicts likely to rip them off or get them in trouble. If these drugs were available cheap at nice clean stores more people would do them and we'd have more drug addicts causing us all sorts of problems.
Prohibition does work a little better with these drugs. Like always it causes us problems but with so few users of these substances the problems aren't as great as they were with alcohol or with marijuana today. And so few even try these drugs that it wouldn't take that many more to double or triple or quadruple the number of addicts causing us all sorts of problems. More than half of all people growing up since the Seventies have tried marijuana though and it's so particularly addictive or prone to causing us lots of problems to begin with. I think most people who want to smoke it are already smoking it. If we legalized it we'd see some increase in use, but we shouldn't see that big of an increase. And if we do, oh well. The ones who smoke it all the time will be losers and an example to the rest of why you shouldn't mess with pot. That fad would wane pretty quickly. And it wouldn't be a massive burden on society either. Most potheads are able to hold down jobs, unlike people addicted to the harder stuff.
We aren't going to start putting people in prison forever for small time drug offenses. It's just not going to happen. Things were trending that way for many years, but the people are tired of it. Our prisons are packed. In my area the waiting time for a prison bed is several months after conviction and most people are allowed to remain out on special bonds until beds open up because they is no room in our jails to hold them until prison beds open up. We can't afford to keep building new prisons, and people are starting to look at how much space we are wasting on low level drug offenders. There's no room left for people who are much bigger threat to our communities.
What we are going to see in the future is exactly the opposite of what you are calling for. We're already starting to send fewer of these people to prison, and that trend will continue. And marijuana will be legalized. It is only a matter of time. Three recent polls have come out showing that 40% or more voting aged Americans are now for legalizing marijuana and regulating it similar to alcohol. Since the early Nineties that percentage has been steadily growing. Within a few more years we'll see it hit 50%, and it won't be too long after that before we see marijuana become legal. It might happen in the next decade, but my bet is it happens some time in the Twenties, probably in the early part of that decade. By then more than 60% of voters will be for legalization if the trend of the last 17 years or so holds, and by then almost all our senior law makers will be people who grew up when marijuana was popular, people statistically likely to have smoked it themselves. Shoot, according to government statistics it's already to the point that males with college degrees or graduate degrees (most of our federal lawmakers) who are in their early sixties are more likely than not to have tried marijuana. Hardly any of those in their late sixties or older have smoked it, but those people, including the politicians in that age group who tend to be the most powerful lawmakers and who tend to be the most dead set against legalization, are on their way out. The political will to continue wasting a fortune and causing all sorts of problems trying in vain to keep up the ban on marijuana is slowly but surely disappearing. It's going to be legal in ten or twenties years whether you like it or not.
I don’t care if you write a book here about the glories of drug usage, I still don’t agree with you.
I know from first-hand experience the effect of drugs (and not just pot), so you are talking to the wrong person. I’ve seen the effects on friends also. And we’ve all seen the horrible pictures of meth users, heard multitudes of stories of drugheads, even simple pot users, who waste away their lives.
Sorry, no way will I think that legal drug usage will help this country or any country. Save your book for someone else.
My point is the prisons would not be overflowing-—more people would be scared to death to deal drugs if they faced a 50 year, no parole prison sentence, first offense. Without a doubt, many people would not be so stupid to take the risk. A few would and would pay for it.
This problem would not be complex as you say it is now. It would simplify everything. The slap-on-the-wrist for serious crime is what’s gotten this country knee-deep in violence and overflowing jail cells. Criminals know they will soon be out on parole. It’s become a joke.