By Farrah Fazal
GRANTIE CITY, Ill. (KSDK) - The intersection of four interstates is the heart of Granite City, Ill. This is a town built by the Europeans, settled by the steel mill workers, and loved by all the people who live there.
"The neighborhoods in granite are well known for taking care of their own," said Lt. Craig Knight. He and his officers in the Granite City Police Department patrol their streets all day and night.
Their little town took a detour a few years ago. More law enforcement eyes were on the street when "Granite City was the ground zero for the distribution of cocaine in the Metro East," said U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents were watching a man and his network of Mexican drug cartel members running cocaine, guns and money up and down the highways in southern Illinois.
Investigators say the network was a part of the Sinaloa cartel, the drug trafficking organization the U.S. considers the most dangerous in the world.
The DEA and federal prosecutorstook down 30 people over three years. They are now all in federal prisons.
"We have changed the dynamics of this town drastically. We hold landlords accountable, we train the landlords on what to look for and the dos and donts, "said Lt. Knight. He said he and his officers can track who is coming into town, and who is renting there.
Many of the cartel members the feds took down rent homes in small towns to use as stash houses.
Lt. Knight is doing a lot more hot spot patrolling. It's not just his job, it's the place, off the interstates, he calls home.