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Heroin in Dallas: 5 Things About Dallas’ Heroin Market from the New DEA Report

Heroin use in Texas isn’t news, but the increasing use of this particularly notorious drug — and the skyrocketing number of drug overdose deaths in our state and across the country — is really getting newsworthy. Search the news, or just search for “heroin” in Twitter, and you’ll find stories from all over the country where people are being arrested for possession (or sale) of heroin. Places like Northhampton, Massachusetts; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Seattle, Washington.

And the key thing you’ll find in lots of these news stories is what we’ve been discussing here in this blog for a very long time: heroin is now a very commonplace drug in middle and upper class homes, and with users at all socio-economic levels. The stigma is disappearing. (If there is a stigma to using heroin anymore.)

And with it, there’s more and more calls to action for treating the addict instead of prosecuting the user. For details on that, just read the New York Times’ story, “In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs.

Here in Dallas (Dallas County) and Fort Worth (Tarrant County) and the surrounding communities that make up North Texas, it remains to be seen if prosecutors and District Attorneys along with all those U.S. Attorneys serving the federal system in the Northern District of Texas are going to be a kinder and gentler bunch of folk when it comes to heroin arrests and heroin prosecutions.

We’re Texas. 2016 is an election year. Think about it.

Dallas and Heroin in 2015: the DEA Report

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA). In it, lots of research findings and information compiled by various law enforcement agencies has been organized to provide what the DEA calls “an up-to-date look at the many challenges local communities face related to drug abuse and drug trafficking … including heroin, prescription drugs, and the hundreds of synthetic drugs manufactured outside the U.S. and imported into this country.”

You can read the full report here.

So, let’s see what the DEA has to report about the state of Heroin in Texas in 2015. Specifically, what’s going on with heroin in the Dallas area.



Heroin Seized in Dallas


1. Mexican Drug Cartels – The Greatest Drug Threat to the United States

The federal government doesn’t call them “cartels,” instead they’re often identified as “Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations.” Potato, potahto. They list the following as active drug cartels based in Mexico:

Sinaloa Cartel
Gulf Cartel
Los Zetas
Los Cabalieros
Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion
Juarez Cartel
Beltran-Leyva Organization
La Familia Michoacana.

These criminal organizations are considered to be the “greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them.” Their sophistication in operating their business endeavors is acknowledged here; from heroin to meth to cocaine to marijuana, they are moving their products into our country for distribution and sale.

Again, as we’ve described before — this isn’t big news, right? It’s interesting to note, though, that places like Boston are specifically identified as points of sale for drugs coming from Texas (Dallas).

2. Mexican Drug Cartels Moving Operations Into the Suburbs and Rural Areas

Heroin operations are moving into the suburbs and outside of town. Mexican cartels are finding that operating in these areas is less likely to expose them to law enforcement. And, it’s further away from the federal agency offices.

Dallas was specifically highlighted as one area where it’s a trend for drug traffickers to be relocating to the suburbs.

3. Asian Drug Cartels in Dallas, Too

The DEA reports that “Asian TCOs” are usually seen over in California and on the the West Coast, but like any good business enterprise, they’re expanding. Seems these Asian drug cartels are big into trafficking marijuana and MDMA. Heroin, not so much. They’re also into things like arms deals, auto theft, cybercrime, murder, and money laundering.

Dallas is spotlighted as one of the places where these Asian Cartels are expanding their operations. Right now, Laotian and Vietnamese organizations are in the business of operating “hydroponic and traditional marijuana indoor grow houses “ here. These are described as being “complex” — meaning big — and give “frequent harvests of mature marijuana plants.”

4. Gangs Working With Mexican Drug Cartels in Texas

A “gang” is defined as “a group of three or more individuals, whose members collectively use a group identity of a common name, slogan, tattoo, style or color of clothing, or hand sign, and the purpose of their association is to engage in criminal activity and use violence or intimidation to further their criminal objectives.” An “Outlaw Motorcycle Gang” refers to “highly-structured organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises, such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking.”

The DEA considers the following organizations as the top four gangs in Texas:

  1. Tango Blast (TB) and Tango cliques
  2. Texas Syndicate (TS)
  3. Emi
  4. Barrio Azteca (BA).

These four groups or gangs are considered to be the “greatest threat to Texas due to their relationships with Mexican TCOs.” More reasons they are powerful here: they have lots of members; they operate across the U.S. borders; and they have an efficient and effective business organization.

As for the gangs that work with the Sinaloa Cartel, the following are identified:

  • Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation
  • Border Brothers
  • Bloods
  • Eme
  • Crips
  • MS-13
  • Sureños
  • Tango Blast
  • United Blood Nation.

5. Heroin Comes Into the United States Through Texas

Heroin as a product has the U.S. border with Mexico as its major distribution route. Specifically, Texas. According to the DEA Report, the Mexican cartels are looking to promote and expand their heroin business throughout the United States. They see heroin as a big and booming product market across the country. So, they are working hard to increase the supply of their heroin product all over the United States, and competing with existing heroin suppliers from other parts of the world (like the Asian cartels selling China White) by offering an easier to find product at a lower price.

How their heroin crosses the border is by a variety of methods. Couriers can carry it on airplanes. Private cars drive it over the border. (We’ve seen the news reports — you know that it’s coming through via tunnels, boats, planes, and all sorts of creative ways.)

Since 2010, the amount of heroin seized at the Southwest Border with Mexico has doubled.

Dallas is identified in the DEA Report as a distribution hub. Specifically, Mexican black tar or brown powder heroin, identified by the DEA as the main types of heroin found in this part of the country. Lots of this product is being moved through Dallas to the Northeastern United States.

Also, its reported that the Mexican cartels are insisting that their methamphetamine distributors in Texas to buy and distribute heroin, as well.

Heroin in Dallas Will Mean Heroin Arrests in Dallas

For all that there is a movement to treat the addict and not prosecute him or her, we can all rely upon the reality that as Dallas continues as an active base of operations for the heroin business, not only will their be arrests for using heroin, but we’ve got to expect to see arrests made for distribution and sale of the heroin product, too. It’s gonna happen.

And, what will the prosecutors be charging folk in Dallas who are caught with heroin? There are a variety of felony charges in the Texas Penal Code as well as under federal law.

Moreover, if they can throw other charges into the mix, they’ll do it. Money Laundering, for instance. Structuring. Wire fraud. Mail fraud. You get the idea.


For more about heroin and drug crimes, visit our resources page. Also see Michael Lowe’s Case Results.

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