Violent crime has spiked in many American cities since 2014 but opinions differ on the reasons for the increase. One theory is that the uptick in the heroin trade has fueled the increase.
Recently, an article in Forbes noted the massive increase in heroin abuse in parts of the United States. The upsurge comes at a time when the use of other drugs is falling.
Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, warned heroin use in his state rose by a staggering 770 percent since 2000.
More cheap heroin has flooded the US market
His concerns were echoed by U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The SAMHSA warned heroin abuse among new users rose 60 percent from 90,000 to 156,000 a year.
An article in Insight Crime charted the change in the source of the drug. It noted the Mexican cartels took over from Asian drug rings and Colombian suppliers to become the top supplier of dangerous narcotics.
Media reports suggest the Mexican heroin is cheaper and, therefore, more affordable for Americans. As the market for the drug has expanded, rival gangs took to the streets to fight battles, leading to spikes in crime in many cities.
The Sinaloa Cartel was the biggest player in the market. The arrest of its kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2014 led to more chaos as rival gangs fought to fill the vacuum he left behind.
In July 2016, Newsweek reported that cheap heroin was leading to a surge in crime across America. It named Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Waco as places with associations to the Mexican heroin cartels. Turf wars have been documented in cities like St. Louis in Missouri.
The Penalties for Heroin Trafficking
The authorities take drug offenses very seriously. A charge of drug trafficking or possession could land you in federal court where the penalties are harsher than in state courts.
The penalty for a first offense of trafficking heroin, cocaine or another drug like methamphetamine is at least 10 years in jail, the Drug Enforcement Administration states on its website.
Many people get caught up in the drug trade. They are often forced into a life of crime and fear for their lives.
If you have been charged with a drug offense you may be facing the loss of your livelihood. It’s important to contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights. Contact us here or call (512) 399-2311.