Archive for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Federal report shows Kansas City is a hub for drug traffickers

November 29, 2011, 10:52 a.m. Updated November 29, 2011, 1:05 p.m.


— Kansas City has become an important hub for U.S. drug trafficking because it's situated in the middle of the country and has major highways that can be used to easily transport drugs in all directions, a federal agency concluded.

Traffickers are bringing cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine from Mexico to the Midwest and are using Kansas City as a hub, the National Drug Intelligence Center states in its annual analysis of trafficking trends.

"Kansas City is a hub. It's like a trucking business. You have two of the biggest interstates in the country converging here," FBI drug investigator Mike Oyler told The Kansas City Star for a story published Monday.

The report, the National Drug Threat Assessment, uses the previous three years' worth of drug seizures and arrest data to identify areas of the country with high levels of drug activity. The 2011 report does not quantify the number of seizures in the Kansas City area, but its detailed maps portray drug activity in the Kansas City area as being as high as anywhere else in the U.S.

David Barton, who heads the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which coordinates law enforcement anti-drug efforts for a six-state region that includes Missouri and Kansas, said the federal report illustrates a reality for those who transport both legal and illegal goods.

"It's geography," he said. "We're right in the middle of the country, and everything goes through here."

Barton said the threat assessment helps law enforcement identify trafficking patterns and devise strategies when those routes shift, and that this year's federal report reflects the greater commitment by law enforcement in recent years to gather and share trafficking data, which has been used to make major arrests.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas City has indicted more than 100 people in several large drug conspiracy cases since January, and Barton said more are in the pipeline.

Among those was Rasheed Shakur, 43, who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar drug smuggling ring that moved drugs of all types from the Southwest to Kansas City, using a number of transportation methods.

FBI agent Matthew Kenyon said Shakur, who described himself as the "Michael Corleone of Kansas City," paid a private pilot for four years to fly hundreds of pounds of marijuana and up to 15 pounds of cocaine each week from Texas into Johnson County Executive Airport.

When that pipeline dried up, Shakur found suppliers in Arizona and started mailing drugs to the addresses of friends and co-conspirators in Kansas City. When some packages didn't arrive, Shakur figured dishonest postal employees were stealing the drugs.

Instead, it was federal agents who were seizing them before delivery.

"There was a real sense of arrogance with him," Kenyon said. "He never thought we would get on to it."


Shane Garrett 6 years, 4 months ago

I wonder how much federal dollars, tax payer dollars, was spent in order to come to that completely non-surprising conclusion? Oh, and first.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Legalize drugs and tax them like booze and cigarettes.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes. We save tons of money in enforcement and incarceration. We get an influx of money into the public coffers in the form of taxes. We can then spend that money on treatment for the increase in addictions. After all, medical care isn't very expensive, is it? We can spend money on unemployment due to lost productivity. And we can spend money on funerals for those who gamble with drugs and lose. Yes, legalizing drugs would solve all our problems.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Hello???? Welcome to earth. Enjoy your stay.

It is delusional to think people aren't using all manner of drugs even though they are illegal. All the negatives you list off like the good fellow you are already exist because of ILLEGAL drug use.

If anything, complete legalization would mitigate the problems you note because the drugs will be manufactured under laboratory conditions instead of in someone's kitchen. If you wanted a hit of acid, would you trust the pharmacist or fat tony down on the corner to provide you with a safer product?

jayhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

What's delusional is thinking that along with legalization, drug use would stay at it's current level. There is every reason to believe that drug use will increase dramatically. People will begin using drugs in the same numbers as they currently use alcohol. You're advocating for an expansion of the pharmaceutical industry because it operates in such a good way, right? The money we now send to drug dealers would be sent to them, their lobby in Washington, their lawyers, etc. And we will expand government's role in ensuring safety, right? Another black hole where the money goes. The bottom line is this. Legalizing drugs trades one set of problems for another set of problems. But it solves nothing.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 4 months ago

Nah. Government agencies have to put out reports at a ridiculous rate -- the audits and auditors are often a waste of taxpayer money, and often because taxpayers want these reports -- but this one is annual. True, it's probably written in an effort to get more funding, but they're trying to convince those with the pursestrings (Congress), not us.

EarthaKitt 6 years, 4 months ago

Well we lost Braniff and the Pony Express. Might as well be a hub for something.

Beth Bird 6 years, 4 months ago

And how is this a surprise to anyone?

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