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Heroin is a Business in Texas: Growing Heroin Demand Means More Heroin Busts in 2015

It’s not news to any Texan that there’s lots of drug traffic moving across the state from Mexico; everyone knows it.  What lots of people, especially those who live in the more affluent parts of North Texas and the Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex, may not realize is how much heroin is coming into our part of the state and exactly who is buying it.

We’ve posted warnings about this before, see:

Heroin is an Established Product

To know a bit about how the heroin business is so entrenched in Texas, read the excellent article by John Moore and Reed Holland in Texas Monthly, where back in 1973 the success of the Texas heroin business was described. In “The Laredo-San Antonio Heroin Wars,” the battle for turf between the Gaytans and the Reyes-Prunedas along with organized crime for control of the lucrative drug distribution of heroin (among other drugs) from Mexico through Texas to Detroit and other parts of the United States is discussed.

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That was over 40 years ago — heroin is an established product at this point. Of course, back then heroin wasn’t a “cool” drug; trendy drugs back then were things like cocaine and crystal meth. You’ve seen the movies, right?

Heroin is Popular, Even Cool Today

In 2014, and going into 2015, things have changed for heroin in Texas (and elsewhere). No longer is heroin the drug with the bad reputation. Today, heroin has a new presence in the marketplace. It’s as if heroin had a great public relations team working hard to build its popularity.

How popular is it? It is estimated that around 700,000 Americans took heroin in 2013. That 200% more than in 2003. What’s more: many believe heroin demand is higher than demand for crack in the American markets. That’s a big change.

Moreover, heroin isn’t the brown stuff liquefied and injected in darkened rooms like those old movies. Today, you may well see heroin being sold as little blue pills resembling OxyContin, for instance. They’re called “Mexican Oxy.”

Who’s taking heroin in our communities today?

Many folk would be surprised. It’s being used by both young and older adults alike. In places like Plano, Texas (that’s right: Plano)— where research is being done to understand why so many older adults (especially those from upper socio-economic lifestyles) are now finding heroin to be an acceptable drug to take.

Heroin is Profitable Product

What’s happening here? Consider the recent article in The Economist (that’s right, the Economist) where heroin is considered: in their piece “Why heroin has made a comeback in America,” the top-tier financial magazine posits that heroin is growing in popularity now for three reasons:

1. People discovered that they liked opioid highs, which they got from prescription pain pills like OxyContin. As law enforcement targeted pill mills and the illegal use of prescription pain medications, heroin became an alternative opioid product in the opioid marketplace.

2. Availability of heroin jumped up (supply meets demand, right?) as Mexico drug business operations invested much more Mexican land in the growth of opium poppies (the raw product that is used to create heroin). According to their analysis, Mexican poppy crops have grown “tenfold” or more since 2000.

3. Those in the drug business are adjusting to market forces in their industry. Not only is there a bigger demand for heroin today, but marijuana as a product is becoming less profitable for these businesses. Not only is marijuana legalized in several states today, but people can also grow their own weed. Cocaine demand is down, too. So, from a business perspective, demand for their past moneymakers (marijuana, cocaine) is down while demand for another product (heroin) is up. So, the drug business — like any other for-profit concern — is adjusting to fluctuations in the marketplace.

Heroin Business Hub is in Mexico

Most heroin that is sold here in North Texas comes from Mexican manufacturers and Mexican distributors. It moves to Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, etc., in established distribution routes originating in Mexico. Our area isn’t just a market, either. We’re also a distribution hub where the heroin product is being moved from Mexico into other markets in other parts of the country.

This isn’t a surprise to anyone. Read USA Today in June 2014: “Heroin’s Hidden Journey: Nearly All Heroin Fueling a U.S. Resurgence Enters Over the 1,933-Mile Mexico Border.”

And who has the biggest heroin market share? The Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

Law Enforcement Focusing on Heroin, Too

This growing heroin market isn’t being built here in North Texas without local, state, and federal law enforcement being aware of it. For example, the Dallas Police Department is actively at work investigating heroin operations here in our area with a goal not just to bust heroin users on possession charges, but to arrest and round up those involved in the heroin business operations. These are bigger arrests, usually after a length of time in investigations, with a number of people busted for much more serious felonies (like distribution, etc.)

Arrested for Heroin in Dallas Area

Which all boils down to this: local criminal defense lawyers understand that heroin arrests are going to rise in this part of the state in the near future. This will happen not only because of law enforcement’s eye on heroin in their anti-crime efforts, but because there is so much more heroin out there on the streets and there are so many more people deciding that heroin is okay to try, that heroin is socially acceptable to use. Families and friends are going to be shocked at these arrests because these people aren’t going to be black sheep drug addicts living out on the fringe — they’re going to be people who go to school and make good grades, or those who go to work and earn a nice living. Soccer moms, executive dads, college kids on the Dean’s List: these are the heroin defendants of the future.

And yet, they are going to be facing the same serious felonies as those heroin defendants of the heroin-stigma years: serious felony charges exist on both the state and federal level for any caught with any amount of heroin in their possession. Those who are selling heroin to support their habit or to help their friends will face the possibility of decades behind bars on serious heroin distribution and heroin sales charges.

Heroin arrests are coming in 2015. And they are going to be tragic, life-altering events for many folk here in our area.

For more information, read our resources page on Drug Crimes or read Michael Lowe’s Case Results.


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