This Missouri City Has Been Named the High Drug Trafficking in the State

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

Missouri is one of the six states constituting the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a program focused on reducing drug trafficking and availability through improved collaboration among local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies. The latest report from Midwest HIDTA identifies St. Louis as a significant drug trafficking hub in the state.

St. Louis: Key Hub for Drug Trafficking

St. Louis, the largest metropolitan area in Missouri with a population exceeding 2.8 million, stands at the intersection of major interstates, including I-70, I-55, I-44, and I-64, connecting it to major Midwest cities and beyond. These factors make St. Louis an appealing destination for drug traffickers, utilizing the city as a distribution center for various illicit substances such as heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.

According to Midwest HIDTA, St. Louis serves as the primary source for heroin and fentanyl in Missouri, as well as parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Additionally, the city receives substantial amounts of methamphetamine from Mexico, distributed to other areas in the region. Cocaine and marijuana are also prevalent, predominantly consumed locally or transported to nearby counties.

Impact of Drug Trafficking on St. Louis and Residents

The heightened drug trafficking in St. Louis has severe consequences for the city and its residents. Notably, there has been a surge in drug-related deaths, particularly opioid overdoses. In 2020, St. Louis County reported 712 drug overdose deaths, marking a 28% increase from 2019, with opioids, especially heroin and fentanyl, being involved in 617 cases. St. Louis City saw a 33% increase in drug overdose deaths, reaching 262 in 2020, with opioids playing a role in 216 instances.

Drug trafficking contributes to various other crimes and violence in St. Louis, including homicides, robberies, assaults, shootings, burglaries, and thefts. Many of these crimes are committed by drug traffickers or drug users engaged in criminal activities to support their addiction. In 2020, St. Louis had the highest homicide rate in the nation, with 262 murders, marking a 36% increase from 2019. The city also ranked among the top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S. for violent crime, property crime, and overall crime.

Efforts to Combat Drug Trafficking in St. Louis

In response to the escalating threat of drug trafficking in St. Louis, law enforcement agencies at all levels have heightened their efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations, seize and destroy illicit drugs, and apprehend and prosecute drug offenders. The Midwest HIDTA plays a pivotal role in coordinating and supporting these efforts by providing funding, intelligence, training, and equipment to participating agencies.

Recent successes of the Midwest HIDTA and its partners in St. Louis include:

In March 2021, a joint operation led by the DEA resulted in the seizure of over 176 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 pounds of heroin, 11 firearms, and $51,000 in cash, leading to the arrest of 36 individuals involved in a large-scale drug trafficking network operating in Missouri, Illinois, and Texas.

In February 2021, a joint investigation by the FBI and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department led to the indictment of 14 members of a violent street gang distributing heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana in St. Louis, responsible for several murders, shootings, and robberies.

In January 2021, a joint operation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis County Police Department resulted in the seizure of over 94 pounds of marijuana, 6 pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of methamphetamine, 8 firearms, and $30,000 in cash, leading to the arrest of 5 individuals involved in a drug trafficking organization operating in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.

These operations highlight the dedication and collaboration of law enforcement agencies in St. Louis and the Midwest HIDTA to combat drug trafficking and its detrimental effects on the community.

However, addressing the issue of drug trafficking in St. Louis requires involvement and support from various stakeholders, including healthcare providers, educators, social workers, community leaders, and citizens. Together, they can contribute to preventing drug abuse, treating addiction, and offering alternatives and opportunities for those at risk of entering the drug trade, ultimately making St. Louis a safer and healthier place to live.

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