By CLINT FOSTER
In the aftermath of Thursday's regional drug bust, investigation results suggest this Dallas-based drug ring was supplying methamphetamine to the entire North Central Texas area.
The eight-month investigation led by the City County Narcotics Unit and the Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Department, Mineral Wells Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Constables and the Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit resulted in 19 arrests – with a few more pending – and the seizure of five firearms, $11,000 cash and a whopping six pounds of crystal meth.
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said he had "no doubt" that the meth in this case had come from Mexican drug cartels. He explained the men arrested in Dallas likely bought the meth in bulk from cartels through a middle man and then functioned as one of the primary distributors for all of North Texas. Along with the alleged Dallas suppliers, most of those arrested in this drug sting were local street dealers from Palo Pinto County.
"[The drugs] come from the cartels up into Texas and then it's distributed to the big dealers," Mercer explained. "The big dealers, the bulk guys, distribute it out to the street guys. It's a lucrative business because there's a lot of cash moving around. If you put that dope that we got the other day into just gram form and sold it by the gram, that would be close to $100,000 worth of dope."
Like most mainstream products, each gram of meth typically takes a long road before it ends up in a user's hand on the street. Mercer explained that in a drug ring like the one busted Thursday, typically the meth first comes across the border from Mexican cartels in a liquid form. It is then crystalized – or cooked – by an intermediary before being distributed to major suppliers, like the men in Dallas. From suppliers, the drugs then go down the line eventually landing in the hands of street dealers, whom Mercer said are often users themselves.