Mexican Drug Cartels Operating in Oklahoma

Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 10:01 am
By: News On 6

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9 for News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State drug agents are keeping a close watch on the deadly Mexican drug war, and there's growing concern that some of those cartels are making inroads into Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics investigators are on heightened alert. They say a large portion of the drugs that make into Oklahoma come through Mexico and members of those cartels are operating in the state.

"We've been successful in identifying cell groups here in Oklahoma," said an undercover OBN agent "Nathan."

Nathan has been on the front lines of the drug war for 14 years, most of which he spent in the trenches acting as a buyer and sometimes a supplier of illegal drugs.

"We're able to infiltrate the organization, identify the supply, the distribution points, and the connection and suppliers from Mexico," Nathan said.

Since 1995, agents like Nathan have broken up at least 65 cell groups, in areas such as Altus, Thomas and in places least suspected.

"Some of those people are business owners who are using those businesses as a front to launder their money," Nathan said.

Wiretap operations have been crucial to the crackdown. The drug lords communicate in a language all their own.

"They'll say, ‘Bring me 2,400 tires,'" Nathan said. "That could be 2,400 pounds of marijuana, or ‘Bring me 10 of those white shirts,' that could be 10 kilos of cocaine."

While the deadly drug war currently underway in Mexico may have caught the world by surprise, investigators here in Oklahoma were up to speed.

"We're not surprised by what's going on currently in Mexico now are we surprised of our problems in Oklahoma," said OBN Director Darrell Weaver.

Weaver first noticed the flow of drugs and Oklahoma's illicit ties to Mexico in the mid 90s when he ran the drug trafficking center.

"We're right in the middle of this trans-shipment point in the United States of drug trafficking," Weaver said.