Google+ Badge

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rich Folks and Mexican Drug Cartels in Ohio

Dominic Bangera and his wife, Jacqueline Sanchez, had rented an upscale home for several years in Newbury, a small town in rural northeast Ohio. The flashy couple has an upscale home and two luxury sports cars. They appeared to be wealthy, law-abiding citizens living the good life in one of Ohio's richest neighborhoods. Newbury Township is about 30 miles east of Cleveland and is Ohio's second-richest per capita.

So, locals were shocked earlier this week when Geauga County sheriff's deputies came to their house with a search warrant and ended up seizing 6 pounds of pure crystal methamphetamine, 2.2 pounds of black tar heroin, 100 pounds of marijuana, $128,000 in cash and 10 guns, which were loaded and kept in various parts of the house. The drugs had a value of about $1.5 million.

Bangera and Sanchez had been quietly operating one of the biggest drug operations in the county's history in this sleepy township – one that may have had ties to a Mexican cartel.

Chief Scott Hildenbrand of the Geauga County sheriff's department said, "No one had any idea this was going on, and most people drove past this house every day."

According to Hildenbrand, the case began on June 3 when a deputy sheriff on patrol saw a beat-up truck parked in the middle of a narrow road called Park View Drive. He stopped and asked the people around the truck if anything was wrong. They were being evasive when they told him the truck had broken down and help was on the way.

The deputy left, but stayed in the area. While hiding, he watched someone jump into the truck and drive it to the house, Hildenbrand said. Eight days later, sheriff's deputies came with a warrant and raided the five-bedroom, 2 ½-bath home.

("Mexican Drug Cartel May Have Penetrated Rural Ohio Town, Police Say."
Fox News Latino. June 17, 2014)


The people living in the house had been traveling back and forth to California, which became suspicious since methamphetamine and black-tar heroin are primarily produced in nearby Mexico by the cartels. They certainly weren't trying to keep a low profile. Now, it appears they will be paying for their flashy crimes.

"It's probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime," said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago office.

Cartel Headlines From the News


Sam Quinones, a Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote The Heroin Road -- the story of how Mexican black tar heroin made its way to the United States and more specifically, to Columbus, Ohio.

Ironically, Quinones says, "There wasn't much heroin in Columbus for many years. But then, in the late 90's, that changed. Starting in a little known area of Mexico, the state of Nayarit, the 'heroin highway' eventually made its way to central Ohio."

As Quinones explains, "Guys from the state of Nayarit found Columbus to be an very interesting market, primarily because they had been a lot of pills there already." Then, it quickly became a heroin hub as authorities put pressure on the pill trade.

According to Quinones, the deadly drug took hold here because it could be delivered quickly, "There's anywhere from 7 to 9 to 10 crews out, heroin traffickers circulating - business hours 7 am to 7 pm, 7 days a week."
The "story" of the Xalisco Boys: 

Sugar cane farm boys from Xalisco, in the Pacific state of Nayarit, Mexico, flocked to the U.S., lured by the opportunity to make money to send home to their families. They would become dealers, of sorts, working for Xalisco drug bosses, purveyors of Mexican black tar heroin. But that’s more toward the end of the story. How the network came to be didn’t just happen overnight.

The idea was cooked up in the early 1990s by two men serving time in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center. The crimes for which they were incarcerated – drug offenses. One of the men, who called himself Max, knew about heroin trade in the U.S., and said his partner, a native of Xalisco, had access to both workers and black tar back in his hometown. Xalisco County (the town of Xalisco and a number of other villages) is made up of a lot of ranchos and small villages, each ferociously independent. Thus, there could be no single person controlling a cartel.

Once the system was in place, the two partners got down to serious work. They paid money to the Arellano-Felix cartel for permission to bring the black tar heroin across the border in Tijuana. They then set up a business model and a heroin ring in Reno, Nevada.

Max and his partner disdained the old way of selling heroin out of houses, which were easy targets for police and Drug Enforcement Agency raids. Instead, they devised a unique selling and delivery method. Customers would call a number, and the dealers would get a page, and then deliver the agreed-upon drugs via car – directly to the customer. The dealers would only carry the black tar heroin in tiny uninflated balloons they held in their mouths. If they got arrested, the charges would be less severe due to the small amount. And, they didn’t drive expensive drug trafficking organization (DTO) makes like Cadillac Escalades. They drove beaters or inexpensive sedans, clean but not too flashy. They dressed modestly and never carried guns, didn’t engage in violence of any kind. All this was designed not to draw attention.

Another part of the Xalisco boys unique business model involves selling to white middle-class, working clientele – and not to African Americans or Latinos. In cities, especially, where there are plenty of young white people, there is no shortage of black tar heroin customers. In addition, Mexican black tar heroin is marketed as a cheap and easy substitute for OxyContin, Percocet and other prescription painkillers. This strategy has been particularly successful in parts of the country where there are high addiction rates to these painkillers, in such areas as California, the nation’s Rust Belt, and Appalachia.

Max and his partner are not the only Xalisco boys starting up their own networks for Mexican black tar heroin in the U.S. Once the word spread, systems began cropping up all over the place. Immigrants told friends and family back in Xalisco and soon other farm boys got in on the bandwagon, all eager to make a little money and climb out of poverty. It wasn’t about flashy cars and big homes and all the material things – at least, not at first. It did, however, help lift families hard hit and maybe put in a new TV, fix the plumbing, pay for children’s schooling and a few modest pleasures. The Xalisco boys began as drivers, earning up to $1,000 a week, putting in their time to learn the business, to see how things were done. Then, back home in Xalisco, they’d assemble their own supplies of black tar before returning to the states as crew chiefs.

In the Mexican black tar heroin business, it’s all about who gets the customers. Price wars are not uncommon, either, as one outfit seeks to undercut another – and secure the most clientele. In the push to get new users, dealers offered addicts rewards for referrals – 8 to 10 free balloons for every $1,000 of business they brought in.

(Sam Quinones. "Xalisco Boys Push Mexican Black Tar Heroin. Drug Crimes. March 31, 2010)


An alleged hit man for the one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico spent the last ten years living in Sandusky, Ohio before he was arrested on January 5, 2012, according to a report by CNN.  U. S. Customs and Border Protection announced that Edgar Campos-Barraza, better known as “El Cholo,” is believed to be an assassin for the Sinaloa Cartel.


The Associated Press reported Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world's most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

Border states from Texas to California have long grappled with a cartel presence. But cases involving cartel members have now emerged in the suburbs of Chicago and Atlanta, as well as Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and rural North Carolina. Suspects have also surfaced in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

The cartel threat looms so large that one of Mexico's most notorious drug kingpins -- a man who has never set foot in Chicago -- was recently named the city's Public Enemy No. 1, the same notorious label once assigned to Al Capone

The Chicago Crime Commission, a non-government agency that tracks crime trends in the region, said it considered Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman even more menacing than Capone because Guzman led the deadly Sinaloa cartel, which supplied most of the narcotics sold in Chicago and in many cities across the U.S.

Guzman spent 13 years on the lam. He was finally captured on February, 2014, in his condo located in the Mexican Pacific resort town of Mazatlan. 

The Future

Heroin use has increased so much in Ohio that users say it is “falling out of the sky,” according to a new report by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. Children as young as 13 are starting to use the drug, they said.

Heroin’s popularity is increasing because it is seen as less expensive and easier to obtain than prescription opioids, according to the Associate Press.

The report, released , said availability of heroin in Cleveland is considered to be at epidemic levels. The survey found an increase in heroin abuse across the state during the previous six months.
The Ohio Department of Health reports that heroin-involved deaths increased from 16 percent (233) of all drug overdoses in 2008, to 20 percent (283) in 2009, to a high of 22 percent (338) in 2010.

The Department of Justice 2011 National Drug Threat Assessment found increased heroin-related overdoses have been reported in cities in at least 30 states.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine calls heroin overdoses an “epidemic” contributing to as many as 11 fatal overdoses a week.

Heroin-related overdoses killed 426 people in Ohio in 2011, the most recent year for which data was available, up from 338 the previous year, according to state health officials. Just in Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland, 195 people died in 2013 of heroin-related overdoses, shattering the former record of 161, set in 2012, the county medical examiner says.

Forget crystal meth. The pseudo-religious Knights Templar drug cartel in western Mexico has diversified to the point that drug trafficking doesn’t even rank among its top sources of income. The cartel counts illegal mining, logging and extortion as its biggest moneymakers, said Alfredo Castillo, the Mexican government’s special envoy sent to restore the rule of law in Michoacan, the state controlled by the Knights Templar the last several years. - See more at:
It is evident Mexican cartels are delivering deadly drugs, crime, and violence into Ohio. Acknowledging this fact is not profiling; it is just simply reporting solid evidence. Since many here in the state want to downplay this activity due to the import of marijuana, considered by some to be recreational and relatively safe, other, more harmful substances originating in Mexico are not judged harshly enough -- particularly the killer heroin.

Ohio residents need to fight for measures that help decrease cartel activity. If that means more searching behind mansion walls in affluent neighborhoods, so be it. After all, Big Money and Big Drug Dealing have lofty connections. I think we all know that, even here in Portsmouth, Ohio. Criminals have made many millions in the Scioto County drug trade. We can no longer see this problem as an urban blight.

Post a Comment