Unless you've been hiding under a rock, or better yet, an underground air conditioned bunker near the Mexican border, you've probably heard about the capture of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
The billionaire, former Forbes-richest drug kingpin was nabbed over the weekend in Mexico. If you were watching the local Univision affiliate you would've been hit with round-the-clock coverage of El Chapo, mini documentaries and all.
So we asked a local expert on the drug war and Mexico, U.S. security issues, Jeronimo Cortina, if he thought the capture of "El Chapo" meant anything here in Houston. We especially wanted to know if it meant drug prices would go up.
"I don't think that there will be any direct repercussion here in the Houston area," Cortina an assistant professor in the University of Houston Dept. of Political Science and the Center for Mexican American Studies said. He said it's more likely towns near the Mexican border might see some changes if the cartel tries to reorganize the structure of the cartel.
He also said that there's no reason to thing drug prices might change here in Houston. Most addicts will continue to be able to get their fix for the $40 it costs on the street for Mexican heroin.
A report by U.S. Customs and Border Protection even backs this up:
The removal of key personnel does not have a discernable impact on drug flows as determined by seizure rates.
Along with running the drug cartel Guzman's name is linked to maybe thousands of murders as alleged head of the multinational drug operation called the Sinaloa Cartel. He's currently waiting for a Mexican judge to decide if he'll be tried in the U.S. His empire, according to numerous reports and drug enforcement officials, happens to be tied to Chicago.
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The cartel is widely known for moving everything from weed to meth to heroin all over the world practically. And his capture doesn't mean any of that's going to stop or slow down.
"The question here is you take one guy out. That guy is not the whole organization. You still have the demand side, people wanting drugs here in the states," said Cortina. "Cartel de Sinaloa is one of the oldest cartels in Mexico because it has a huge reach. These guys are professional."
And so why do we care, especially if we don't speak Spanish?
"Again, this is a bilateral issue. It's a problem that we have in our backyard that we have to care about and engage in it. It's important to pay attention," Cortina said.