New Mexico's narcotics supply could tighten in wake of drug lord’s arrest

Updated: 02/23/2014 12:05 AM | Created: 02/22/2014 11:42 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Many believe the arrest of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman will significantly impact the availability of illegal drugs in the United States.

Others worry that it could lead to another bloody turf war, as rival traffickers try to take over his routes.

Here in New Mexico, drug experts predict that the supply of cocaine and other narcotics may tighten for a short time.

The economics of drugs is fairly simple.

Drugs flow north from Mexico into the United States and money flows south.

Americans, including many in New Mexico, are blamed for keeping Mexican drug operations highly profitable.

El Chapo is to drugs, like Steve Jobs was to computers.

“He's the number one importer of cocaine into the United States, by virtue of his drug cartel," New Mexico Department of Public Safety Secretary Gorden Eden said. "You're looking at a billion dollar enterprise.”  

Eden will soon take over the Albuquerque Police Department, but his resume also tailors him as one of the top law enforcement officers in the region, specializing in border drug trafficking.

Eden predicts that we may see a slowdown of drug flow…for now.

“I think it will hurt the demand for a while, but we know in the history of the drug cartels, even if he is arrested or incarcerated, that someone will be behind him to start that back up,” Eden said.

Many worry that as new cartel leaders emerge, violence may resume or even spike.

American border cities like El Paso, Texas and Columbus, New Mexico could be affected.

“I think we would see a different result had he been killed in the arrest process,” Eden said.  “I think you would see a more organized, a maybe more disorganized front to see who would take over the cartel." 

The U.S. is working to extradite Guzman to face the crimes he is accused of.

Eden says the best scenario is to get "El Chapo" in a U.S. prison as quickly as possible. 

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