Immigrants from Xalisco, in the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, have
brought the heroin north over the last decade, and with it a highly effective
business model featuring deep discounts and convenient delivery by car. Their
success is a major reason why Mexican black tar has seized a growing share of
the U.S. heroin market, according to government estimates.
The dealers are targeting rural and suburban areas, not inner cities, because those areas don't have established dealers. Drivers move into an area where the drugs of choice are Oxycontin and other prescription pills. feeding those habits can cost hundreds of dollars per day but the cut rate heroin these dealers provide can be had for about $8.00 a hit.
They were innovative and tireless. Rather than sell from houses, where they
would be sitting ducks for narcotics agents, or on street corners in seedy
neighborhoods, they operated like a pizza delivery service. Users called a phone
number. A dispatcher relayed the order to a driver, who took the heroin to the
Areas like Northeast Ohio appear to be exactly what these dealers are looking for. Avoiding cities like Warren and Youngstown leaves them free to operate in northern Trumbull county, southern Mahoning county and Columbiana county. Police patrols are thin due to smaller local police forces and county cutbacks.
Rural Athens, Vinton, Meigs and Hawking counties have seen a tenfold
increase in heroin addicts seeking treatment over the last four years, and
almost all were black-tar users, said Joe Gay, director of Health Recovery
Services, a drug-rehabilitation center serving those Ohio counties."When you see
these increases, you ask why," Gay said. "The answer is availability and price.
Heroin was never available in these rural counties, and now it's cheap and
There haven't been any reports of this activity locally but it would be very surprising if it wasn't taking place. How many people from the ABC communities, Austintown, Boardman, Canfield and Poland roam into Youngstown looking for dealers? That's a ready made clientele for such an operation. Now they can get high without venturing into the city.
The rest of the series can be found here at the LA Times website.