Heroin in the ‘Burbs
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Heroin in the ‘Burbs


Good Charlotte 

CBS News just published an article about Mexican heroin flowing into American cities. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning if we were talking about border towns or major cities like New Orleans or Miami, where the foreign and domestic drug trade is as normal as traffic. But now we’re talking Charlotte, Columbus, Indianapolis and Nashville. These mid-sized suburban cities are new targets for heroin trafficking because of the same reason people are always moving there: they’re safe and cheap.

DEA agent Bill Baxley says that the customer base is incredible because there’s no “threat of certain gang activity…like in Chicago.” CBS shows a DEA video of a heroin deal going down in a suburban parking lot in Charlotte where the dealer even has his number written under the word “sale” on the back of his car. They could never do this in bustling crime-ridden New York City. Heroin deals used to be on TV after 10 pm and in alleys or penthouse suites with white couches and now they’re happening in Chipotle parking lots in cities that don’t even have NFL teams.

Beige Everything

The Showtime show Weeds is a good example of this on a minor scale. A widowed mother of two uses her suburban beige house as a front for the weed-dealing business she started to pay the bills. This is real life though and authorities wish it was just weed they were dealing with. Mexican heroin is a super cheap alternative compared to painkillers going for $80 dollars on the black market. Baxley recently seized a slab of heroin worth more than $1,000,000 that’s sold into $10 dollar balloons—cheap and fun for kids!

Baxley also says that having heroin delivered in “way less than 30 seconds, probably about 15 seconds” is how easy getting this stuff is in Charlotte. It may be the largest city in North Carolina but in many ways, this place is about as scary as Disneyland at noon. At two million people, its population is merely double the amount of gang members there are in America. And that’s what’s so appealing to these heroin dealers: there’s no competition or turf war to worry about. Why try so hard in Chicago when these guys can sell heroin balloons to 20-somethings in Nashville?

This was bound to happen. Sinatra said about New York, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Times have changed, though. Now drug dealers don’t have to try and make it anywhere. They can just skip the tough times and move to Charlotte.

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About Author

Carlos Herrera is a comedian, photographer and writer whose work can also be found on The Fix . He has been featured in LA Weekly and has performed at The Hollywood Improv among other places.