Mexican Drug Cartels Making Big Push Into Montana
We've already confirmed that Mexican drug cartel members are or recently have been in our jails here in Montana. We've also told you that MS-13 operatives and the big city gangbangers are all moving into Montana. But what about the pill pushers?
Stacy Zinn-Brittain is the regional agent in charge for the DEA in Montana. She joined us in the studio on Friday's Montana Talks statewide radio show. We were previewing National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. On Saturday, there were drop-off locations all across Montana so Montanans could turn in their old, expired, and unneeded prescription drugs, especially painkillers.
Why is it so important that people get rid of their old prescription drugs? Because the pills often get diverted to the streets to get people hooked on pills across the state. And the price differential is incredible. She told us how an Oxycontin pill could sell for $15 in Las Vegas. In Montana?
ZINN-BRITTAIN: I come up here to Billings, and I can sell that same pill on the street for $35- if I rip somebody off $42. If I take it up to Wolf Point, I can sell it for anywhere up to $67. If I go up to Rocky Boy, I can sell for $87 up to $100. And if I take that one $15 pill that I got from Vegas, take it all the way to Sidney- I can sell for $120.
And she tells us that the Mexican drug cartels are also pushing the pills in addition to meth:
ZINN-BRITTAIN: The Mexican cartel has really focused on this, because when pills started becoming a problem, big pharmacy was making all the profits. Well, the Mexican cartel focused on this and they say- we want to get into the game.
She says the cartels started sending up fake pills that looked like Oxy, but were actually pills with heroin and fentanyl.
ZINN-BRITTAIN: we're getting a huge rash of them up here. They they come over the southwest border, they normally come to the Arizona area and from there they spread out.
Click below for the full audio of our conversation with Stacy Zinn-Brittain:
Check out our Montana Talks with Aaron Flint podcast for similar content.
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