Mexico is primary source of heroin for U.S.: DEA

Seized drugs at the northern border – Photo: Gaston Monge/EL UNIVERSAL

According to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration report, the biggest threat is the Sinaloa cartel; heroin overdose deaths tripled in the U.S. between 2008 and 2015….

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States declared Mexico is the “primary source” of heroin for the U.S. market, with an increasing poppy cultivation which has tripled in the last three years, El Universal reports.

According to the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, the DEA blames the significant increase in production on the decrease of poppy fields eradication in Mexican territory, as well as the focus of the cartels on heroin trafficking.

Seized drugs at the northern border – Photo: Gaston Monge/EL UNIVERSAL

The report details there are six drug cartels who have a presence and impact in several areas of the United States: the Sinaloa cartel – led until recently by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is currently imprisoned in New York; the Jalisco New Generation Cartel; the Juárez Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas Cartel, and the Beltrán-Leyva Organization.

Pursuant to the document, the DEA highlights in 2016 poppy cultivation reached 32,000 hectares in Mexico, capable of producing 81 metric tons of heroin. Three years before, the cultivation only allowed the production of 26 metric tons.

Mexico, the predominant source

The report details in 2015, 93% of the heroin seized and analyzed by the DEA came from Mexico. “The increases in heroin production in Mexico have ensured a reliable supply of low-cost heroin,” explains the administration. They stress the heroin consumed in the U.S. is pure, low-cost, and mixed with fentanyl – a known synthetic opioid developed to serve as a painkiller.

For the United States, this is a matter of great concern, given the drug crisis they’re undergoing. Between 2008 and 2015, the deaths from heroin overdose in this country have tripled, reaching almost 13, 000.

It is expected that this week, American President Donald Trump declares the opioid epidemic and the controlled prescription drug overdose a ”national emergency”.

Mexican cartels remain the most important drug trafficking
threat in the U.S. and their influence over the territory is expanding. According to the report, “no other groups are currently positioned to challenge” Mexican drug cartel organizations.

Furthermore, the report states Mexican cartels dominate the heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and “to a lesser extent”, fentanyl markets.

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