Deep in the Heart of Texas’ Drug Trade
Posted on Jul 24, 2011
Texas Gov. Rick Perry points to his hyper pro-business policies to explain the fact that 37 percent of the nation’s new jobs created over the last two years were in his state. New York magazine has another suggestion though: the region’s multibillion-dollar drug trade.
Many middle- and upper-class Mexican families are crossing the Texan border to escape the violence back home. Michael Lauderdale, criminal justice professor at the University of Texas, suspects that a significant portion of the money they’re bringing, which has revived the state’s housing market while the industry asphyxiates elsewhere, comes from drugs. —ARK
Texas is a jobs monster. Over the past two years, 37 percent of the net new jobs in the country were created in the state, a track record that governor and maybe GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is quick to tout. He credits his conservative, pro-business policies; skeptics say it’s mainly owed to immigration and the high prices the state is getting for its oil. But there’s another possible contributor to Texas’s growth that no one is talking about: the drug trade.
Sixty percent of the U.S.’s southwestern border is part of Texas, and it’s the 60 percent that smugglers like best: long stretches of nothing, delineated by a river shallow enough for trucks to drive across, eventually leading to major cities that lie on highway routes to all points north, east, and west. Texas dominates drug entry into the U.S., which means it dominates the wholesale drug trade. It’s a big business: The DEA’s rough guess is that $27 billion in drug proceeds flow back out of the U.S. to Mexico, Colombia, and so on. And another pot of money stays here.
Flickr / dherrera_96