Though nearly one-third of all criminal cases prosecuted in Pahrump since the beginning of last year have been related to the use and sale of controlled substances, local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration say the drugs aren’t being manufactured here — they’re being brought into the community from places like Mexico and California.
“We see the trafficking, but we see the product being imported here and in that respect that’s good,” Sheriff Tony DeMeo said.
According to Paul Rozario, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas Drug Enforcement Administration field office, methamphetamine and heroin are being brought into the Southern Nevada area by drug trafficking organizations operating from bases in Mexico.
“We know that the heroin that’s being utilized in Southern Nevada and 99.999 percent of the methamphetamine that’s being utilized in Southern Nevada is coming from Mexico. Heroin is being manufactured in Mexico as is the methamphetamine. And heroin comes from the opium poppy and that’s grown in Mexico and it’s being cultivated and then being converted to heroin. Now methamphetamine is a chemical drug and it’s produced in very large clandestine laboratories in Mexico,” he explained.
“Chances are it’s coming in through the Southwest border, either through California or Phoenix, and through organizations that will smuggle it either to organizations in California or Phoenix or directly to organizations here in Las Vegas,” the special agent added.
Rozario said the groups that produce these drugs are mainly run and operated by Mexican nationals who stand to make a large profit from smuggling the product into the United States for distribution all over the country.
After they’ve brought the drugs into the country, Rozario said these organizations then act as wholesalers, distributing them to gangs and other large operations for distribution to the public.
“Normally what they’ll do is they are the wholesalers. So the Mexican drug trafficking organizations are the wholesalers and they’ll distribute potentially to gang members, to other people that are just distributors. So they’re not throwing it on the street per se or slinging it on the street, but they’re selling to someone else who’s selling it on the street,” he said.
Though the meth and heroin are coming from Mexico, Rozario said the majority of the marijuana seized in Southern Nevada is from California.
The special agent said it is being grown in large-scale operations in the neighboring state before being transported across state lines to be sold.