Of Racial Stereotypes… And Reality

17 Feb

Crack “epidemic”!

Well, there is heroin epidemic sweeping America, and you don’t hear a damn thing about it.

The reason is the victims of this epidemic aren’t, by and large, black folks in the proverbial “ghetto”…

It’s white, middle class kids.

So… Where’s the new “War on Drugs”?

A lethal business model targets Middle America – Sugar cane farmers from a tiny Mexican county use savvy marketing and low prices to push black-tar heroin in the United States.

Immigrants from an obscure corner of Mexico are changing heroin use in many parts of America.

Farm boys from a tiny county that once depended on sugar cane have perfected an ingenious business model for selling a semi-processed form of Mexican heroin known as black tar.

Using convenient delivery by car and aggressive marketing, they have moved into cities and small towns across the United States, often creating demand for heroin where there was little or none. In many of those places, authorities report increases in overdoses and deaths.

Immigrants from Xalisco in the Pacific Coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, they have brought an audacious entrepreneurial spirit to the heroin trade. Their success stems from both their product, which is cheaper and more potent than Colombian heroin, and their business model, which places a premium on customer convenience and satisfaction.

Users need not venture into dangerous neighborhoods for their fix. Instead, they phone in their orders and drivers take the drug to them. Crew bosses sometimes call users after a delivery to check on the quality of service. They encourage users to bring in new customers, rewarding them with free heroin if they do.

In contrast to Mexico’s big cartels — violent, top-down organizations that mainly enrich a small group — the Xalisco networks are small, decentralized businesses. Each is run by an entrepreneur whose workers may soon strike out on their own and become his competitors. They have no all-powerful leader and rarely use guns, according to narcotics investigators and imprisoned former dealers.

Leaving the wholesale business to the cartels, they have mined outsize profits from the retail trade, selling heroin a tenth of a gram at a time. Competition among the networks has reduced prices, further spreading heroin addiction.

“I call them the Xalisco boys,” said Dennis Chavez, a Denver police narcotics officer who has arrested dozens of dealers from Xalisco (pronounced ha-LEES-ko) and has studied their connections to other cities. “They’re nationwide.”

Their acumen and energy are a major reason why Mexican heroin has become more pervasive in this country, gaining market share at a time when heroin use overall is stable or declining, according to government estimates.

The Xalisco retail strategy has “absolutely changed the user and the methods of usage,” said Chris Long, a police narcotics officer in Charlotte, N.C., where competition among Xalisco dealers has cut prices from $25 to $12.50 per dose of black-tar heroin. “It’s almost like Wal-Mart: ‘We’re going to keep our prices cheap and grow from there.’ It works.”

Xalisco bosses have avoided the nation’s largest cities with established heroin organizations. Instead, using Southern California and Phoenix as staging areas, they have established networks in Salt Lake City; Reno; Boise, Idaho; Indianapolis; Nashville; and Myrtle Beach, S.C., among other places. From those cities, their heroin — called black tar because it’s sticky and dark — has made its way into suburbs and small towns.

In Ohio, where Xalisco networks arrived around 1998, black tar has contributed to one of the country’s worst heroin problems. Since then, deaths from heroin overdoses have risen more than threefold, to 229 in 2008, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The number of heroin addicts admitted to state-funded treatment centers has quintupled, to nearly 15,000.

In Denver, fatal heroin overdoses rose from six in 2004 to 27 in 2008 after Xalisco networks became established.

The dealers have been especially successful in parts of Appalachia and the Rust Belt with high rates of addiction to OxyContin, Percocet and other prescription painkillers. They market their heroin as a cheap, potent alternative to pills.

There are no official estimates of how much money Xalisco networks make, but narcotics agents who have busted and interrogated dealers say that a cell with six to eight drivers working seven days a week can gross up to $80,000 a week.

Among the idiosyncrasies of Xalisco dealers is that they generally do not sell to African Americans or Latinos. Instead, they have focused on middle- and working-class whites, believing them to be a safer and more profitable clientele, according to narcotics investigators and former dealers. “They’re going to move to a city with many young white people,” Chavez said. “That’s who uses their drug and that’s who they’re not afraid of.”

Xalisco networks have expanded despite federal investigations in 2000 and 2006 that sent almost 300 people to prison.

Only in recent years have narcotics agents grasped the full reach of the system and its origins in Xalisco, which lies at the foot of volcanic mountains where opium poppies grow.



Posted by on February 17, 2010 in You Know It's Bad When...


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5 responses to “Of Racial Stereotypes… And Reality

  1. urbanleftbehind

    February 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    These dudes probably resemble the emo-fag boys from the movie Tu Mama Tambien, and if blending in with the gueros is a pre-requisite for success, the Nayarit and adjacent Jalisco areas have a lot of French blood in them.

    I think I’d be more scared of SLC and Boise than the ‘hood because of the whole Straight Edge/Skinhead element.


  2. addicere77

    April 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. The whole “War on Drugs” of the 80’s and 90’s seemed like a pretty thin pretext to get half of black America put in jail or prison. The whole time white, surburban opiate addicts were sent to treatment or star on the latest epsiode of “Intervention” where we’re told they only use drugs because of their parents got divorced or they were diddled by their uncle. As if people that grew up in an urban war zone somehow had better childhoods and only do dope because it’s somehow a part of their nature. There’s just a huge double standard. I think that part of the problem is that in post-industrial America there just isn’t anything else to do with half of the young population. You see the same thing in rural, white America. Zero jobs. Zero meaningful education. Huge problems with dope and alcohol. I’m not sure theres any changing it inside the existing national debate or by some sketchy War on Drugs.


    • btx3

      April 17, 2010 at 6:43 PM

      I think the heroin epidemic is going to change America. Users are concentrated in suburban and rural areas, and are predominately white.


  3. nanakwame

    April 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    It has already hit white America that is for sure. No the face anywhere


    • btx3

      April 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM

      Yeah – It already hit white America. The problem is that people are in denial.



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