Reality Check: Mexico's ties with Tri-state heroin
Heroin has become the illicit painkiller of choice in the Tri-State. Ninety-five percent of it is smuggled in from Mexico. It's relatively cheap and readily available, but will the recent arrest of one of Mexico's most wanted heroin traffickers impact the drug's availability here?
The capture of drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo' Guzman made headlines all over the country. You may not have heard of Guzman before his arrest, and you may not know that he's on Fobes list of the richest people in the world.
However, if you follow the local news, you probably know about his heroin. Over the past five years, the amount of heroin coming into the greater Cincinnati area has skyrocketed by approximately 85 percent.
Much of that was smuggled into the country by Guzman's cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel. According to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, the reason is simple economics.
"People are going to find ways to get drugs across the border if the demand is so great and the price is so high," says Brown.
Sergeant Chris Niehaus with the Drug Abuse Reduction Task Force, or DART, is fighting the war on drugs in the Tri-State. Although Guzman now awaits trial, one of the task force's biggest challenges remains - recognizing the key players.
"The individuals that are involved in these organizations that are distributing these large quantities of heroin employ individuals that look just like you and I that fit into mainstream America," says Niehaus.
Niehaus also says that many of the people using heroin look just as non-discript as the smugglers. He says they're using the drug just to get through the day.
"All they're using it for now is just to maintain, just so they can function like you and I. Like ordinary citizens throughout the day."
According to reports out of Mexico, it's business as usual for the Sinaloa Cartel which has replaced Guzman with a top lieutenant known as ‘El Mayo.' According to drug experts, Guzman's capture is expected to have absolutely no impact on the heroin trade here in the Tri-State.