Guzman capture could slow heroin pipeline in STL area

KSDK – The fight against heroin will change now for law enforcement.

A lot of heroin is sold in St. Louis and Southern Illinois every day. The capture of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman means the pipeline may slow down temporarily, and heroin will cost more.

"We hope it downs slow down the flow of heroin into Chicago, it then comes to St. Louis," U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton said.

The highways and byways of southern Illinois and the corners of north St. Louis are Sinaloa drug cartel territory.

"They are the primary distributors of heroin in southern Illinois," Wigginton said.

Wigginton and his prosecutors lead the country in the number of heroin cases they take to court. The takedown of the head of Sinaloa could change his fight against the cartel.

"We are very much on the lookout for other cartels that are going to take their place," Wigginton said.

Guzman was arrested in Mazatlan Saturday morning.

"It's likely you'll see less heroin, and you'll see prices go up," John Torres, managing director of Guidepost Solutions said.

Torres was part of the hunt for Guzman, and he now works for a global security company. He says Guzman's arrest may slow the flow, but it won't stop the pipeline.

"This is a large that has a number of shipments already in country, and a number of shipments on the way," Wigginton said.

Wigginton says the newly-formed heroin task force in Madison County is even more important now.

They will meet on Thursday to find out if a bad batch of heroin contributed to the deaths of three people two weeks ago.


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