DEA: NM A Safe Haven For Illegal Drugs

By buseman · Jul 19, 2010 ·
  1. buseman
    New Mexico is a haven for illegal drugs arriving from Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    But the drugs aren't just coming from across the border, they are being produced more often in the state, the DEA said.

    Documents from the DEA show evidence of that problem in Rio Arriba County.
    After a state police bust yields 8,000 pot plants in Rio Arriba County, local residents said it was the tip of the iceberg.

    I'm not surprised if they find more, said Martinez.

    Martinez said there's one reason why drug dealers flock to northwest New Mexico.

    Isolation -- we're away from everybody, Martinez said.

    According to the DEA, New Mexico's large areas of uninhabited land provide excellent locations for marijuana plantations.

    In 2008, the DEA seized over 34,000 kilograms of pot which is roughly 75,000 pounds.

    Marijuana is not the only drug. According to the DEA, The Espanola Valley (in Rio Arriba County) is consistently rated as having the highest per capita heroin overdoes death rate in the United States.

    That rate is higher than New York, Los Angeles or any other big city in the country.

    It's all happening in Martinez's back yard.

    The cops will only go a certain amount of places. A lot of it is posted private property, Martinez said.

    State police found one pot plantation on private property. But if a forest fire had not broken out, they may have never even found the drugs at all.

    Police said the property owner is not a suspect. Instead, they said someone broke onto his property, built an extensive irrigation system and grew nearly $10 million worth of marijuana plants.

    I'm glad to get that off the streets. That's good. It keeps the kids safe. It keeps everyone safe over here, Martinez said.

    The DEA records also state that New Mexico has problems with cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. NM state is also ranked No. 5 when it comes to violent crime across the country.

    State police have not made any arrests in the Rio Arriba County pot bust yet.

    July 18, 2010

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