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Texas is a big state. Its border with Mexico has made drug trafficking easy. The panhandle of Texas is a prime area for drugs entering the state and then being distributed throughout the country. Drug trafficking is a huge challenge facing law enforcement and state government.
In the past, the drug trade in Texas was controlled only by the Mexicans, but today, the Columbians and Asians are fighting for their share of the drug money. The drug trade is a lucrative one in Texas, despite an increase in law enforcement and surveillance techniques. The drug trade in Texas has been associated with the smuggling of people across the Texas-Mexico border. The enactment of the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) more than ten years ago has increased the daily flow of border traffic and smuggling of drugs. Rural, desolate areas in New Mexico and west Texas have provided a haven for drug smugglers. The El Paso/Juarez Corridor is where most of the drug smuggling occurs. Large amounts of drugs are confiscated each day at the border. Drug traffickers obtain warehouses in El Paso where they hide the drugs and the proceeds from sales. The traffickers recruit “mules” (people) from the area to move the drugs. El Paso is a center for significant amounts of drug money being laundered through small businesses.
Cocaine is available in large quantities in Texas. Cocaine is transported to Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The drug traffickers often use the commercial trucking industry to move large amounts of cocaine. Smaller amounts of cocaine are routinely seized from private cars and couriers. Most of the cocaine in Texas is converted to crack cocaine and then sold on the streets where prices are high. Gangs control the cocaine trade and as a result, violent crime has increased. The crack cocaine supply has infiltrated the schools in Texas and abuse is widespread through every demographic.
The majority of heroin available in Texas is from Mexico. Despite the drug’s low quality, trafficking of heroin across borders continues. It is most often carried across by the illegal immigrants. In the cities, medical consequences and overdose deaths are on the rise from heroin abuse.
Methamphetamine is the most abused drug in Texas. Most of the methamphetamine comes into the state from Mexico. The ban on ephedrine has meant that clandestine laboratories are now few and far between. In spite of this fact, many traffickers use ammonia, red phosphorus, lithium batteries and muriatic acid to make the drug. The “homegrown” methamphetamine is a health and safety hazard.
The abuse of club drugs is common in Texas. MDMA (ecstasy) is the most abused drug and most of the supply comes from Mexico. College students favor club drugs – including Rohypnol, Ketamine, LSD and PCP. Prescription drug abuse, as in other states, is at a high level in Texas. OxyContin, hydrocodone and Xanax are the drugs most often abused. The state has a severe shortage of physicians. This fact forces state authorities to grant out-of-state practitioners the ability to write prescriptions. This fuels the easy access to prescription pain medications.
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