Drug business is booming while legitimate supply chains are struggling, overdose data shows

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Disturbing new data shows overdose drug deaths in Chicago and across the country are at an all-time high. Drug cartels continue to ship illegal products while other supply lines around the world struggle.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles are not a beloved Thanksgiving movie for drug cartels. This is the description of their logistics machine.

dumped into trucks, tunnels and even submarines, and officials say the business continues even as legitimate supply chains are struggling.

On Wednesday, November 3, at Gary/Chicago International Airport, a private jet registered in Mexico arrived with 220 lbs. of cocaine, according to federal drug investigators. Investigators said the drugs were packed in several suitcases that were transferred to a waiting SUV.

“If they lose their weight, I mean it could be the difference between life and death,” said Ed Farrell, owner of Silver Star Protection Group.

Farrell, who is also a former deputy US marshal, said drug operatives always seek a backdoor away from places that receive more attention.

“They went to a more distant airport, which tells me there are fewer checks,” Farrell said.

Gary Airport officials said the plane had not been inspected as it cleared customs in Houston after taking off from Toluca, Mexico, hours earlier.

According to a federal complaint, 30-year-old Mexican national Sebastian Vazquez-Gamez was among those on board the ship. He reportedly went to Chicago’s Gold Coast and went to a Chestnut Street hotel, where agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration said they arrested him and confiscated the cocaine.

Also arrested were Alexis Jimenez-Perez, 25, and Sergio Evan Blass, 39, of Columbus, Indiana, who were taken into custody a day later.

Agents said sales ledgers found in Blass’s car uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug deals. Federal officials have reportedly seized the used $8 million jet and moved it to a hangar in Florida, according to flight records.

The plane traveled from Mexico to Texas to Gary on several occasions, and officials said they had it under surveillance. Aviation website FlightAware has publicly photographed the jet at several airports in the US and Mexico.

The special agent in charge of the DEA in Chicago declined to discuss the Gary case, but said the cartel supply lines were unaffected by global shipping problems.

Robert Bell, the special agent in charge of the DEA, said, “Cartels use every means possible to get drugs from Mexico into the United States and then into local markets. And in Chicago this means controlling drug markets primarily in Chicago.” from gangs.” Chicago. “In the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 we seized more methamphetamine than in the full fiscal year 2020.”

More illicit drugs were intercepted but also consumed, with the bootleg concoction of the potent pain reliever Fentanyl now accounting for 75 percent of all overdose deaths in the Chicago area. The most recent data, from April 2020 to April 2021, shows the record-setting number of overdose deaths in Cook County and the state of Illinois. For the first time, 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in a single year, a 30 percent spike.

Investigators said four out of every 10 counterfeit fentanyl pills tested contained a lethal dose.

“There is very little quality control when cartels in Mexico manufacture fentanyl on an industrial scale,” Bell said.

It’s an overheated business that often boils over. In early November, a masked and heavily armed hit squad attacked a beachfront in Cancun, Mexico, killing two people. Investigators believe it was a dispute between two rival cartels; The same two cartels that control the entire illegal drug trade of Chicago.

The leaders of those two Mexican cartels are currently Chicago’s Most Wanted Fugitives. For the head of DEA Chicago remains a veritable constant in the cartel world.

“There’s no such thing as nonviolent drug trafficking,” Bell said.

You may not have heard the phrase “the war on drugs” from Robert Bell of the DEA.

“We have no war on (our) citizens,” he said. “Or the war on people with drug problems.”

War, he explained, is the end. He added that trying to stop the drug flow never really ends.

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