What do Mexican cartels have to do with the Wabash Valley?


WABASH VALLEY, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s called the “drug highway” and it runs right into the Wabash Valley.

It starts on a large scale, one we don’t think affects us here in Indiana and Illinois. But Mexican cartels are actually the ones supplying most of the drugs found here in the Wabash Valley.

Due to ongoing investigations, the narcotics expert we spoke to has asked to remain anonymous.

There’s a bloody drug war waging in Mexico.

“It is a war. There are people being kidnapped and murdered down there on a daily basis…the cartels were fighting for power, distribution routes, so about 2006 is when the war became very prevalent. You started seeing murder rate go up, kidnapping go up in Mexico,” said Detective Jim Palmer, Vigo County Drug Task Force.

Thousands of people there killed every year.

But what does the Wabash Valley have to do with Mexican cartels?

We’re funding their drug war.

“The majority of narcotics that come through here in Terre Haute are actually from Mexico, South America,” said Detective Palmer.

These cartels are responsible for producing and distributing most of the drugs into the United States.

Here’s how that happens.

It’s like any good business. You have a source, distribution and buyer.

“Terre Haute is obviously centrally located in the united states. What happens is Mexico’s in the southwest so those drugs have to physically come across the border. And when they do so, it’s like fed ex or ups or united states postal…from there, they’d either go by mail, by boat, plane, vehicle. So they go to distribution cities, what we call them, Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Louisville, Kentucky,” said Detective Palmer. “From the distribution cities, the drugs will be broken down from kilo sized packages into smaller quantities and then distributed down from the highway to Terre Haute or cities around us in smaller quantities…if you go up there, and were to do interdiction at the Indianapolis airport, you’d probably find narcotics every day.”

Here’s the problem locally.

Our Wabash Valley drug task forces can’t fight a war in Mexico.

“We have seven guys fighting a problem that’s a lot bigger than them,” said Detective Palmer.

All they can fight is what happens once it’s here.

“We may start out at a street level deal and we’ll try to work it back all the way to the border if we can,” said Detective Palmer.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem easily solved, locally or nationally.

“Even if you cut off the head of the snake, so to speak. There’s always going to be another snake,” said Detective Palmer. “It’s almost like using a shovel at the beach to dig a hole of sand. As soon as you take one scoop and throw it out, that hole’s going to be filled up with other sand around it.”

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