Las Vegas law enforcement officials say Mexican cartels are flooding the city to sell drugs and use the region to ship large amounts of drugs East.
Most drugs coming into the gambling mecca come through Phoenix or Southern California, but traffickers are increasingly ordering illegal drugs from Mexico, according to the Las Vegas Sun
Just two years ago, Kent Bitsko, who is the executive director of a Nevada-based drug task force, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee Mexican cartels were not affecting the region’s traffickers. However, in the past 18 months, that’s changed with authorities investigating five cases in which cartels were involved.
The Mexican deliveries include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamines, which come into the state through vehicles’ hidden compartments.
As a result, task forces seized more than $66 million in drugs last year in Southern Nevada. This was more than double what was seized in 2010, said Bitsko.
Authorities believe cartels are sending people to the Las Vegas area to set up shop, including buying homes and vehicles with cartel money.
Bitsko said task forces are working to build cases against organizations, not individuals, and many of those arrested are illegal immigrants from Mexico — and more than one cartel is operating in Southern Nevada.
Authorities hope the violence that has hit Mexico, resulting in 47,000 deaths through drug-related crimes, doesn’t come to the Las Vegas area as a result of the increased cartel traffic.
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