KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The Louisville Courier-Journal just published a report detailing a 9-month-long investigation into El Mencho, the leader of the Cartel Jalisco Nuevo Generacion, noting their presence in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri.
The newspaper wrote, "Members of a cartel cell in Kansas City, with drug houses in both Kansas and Missouri between 2013 and 2016, splurged on $10,000 tickets to rapper Pitbull’s concert and a Louis Vuitton purse."
That caught our attention and KCTV5 News went to find out more.
The head of the Jackson County Drug Task Force told KCTV5 News, every illegal drug in the metro, except for marijuana, has a cartel behind it and the two biggest are Sinaloa and CJNG, out of Jalisco.
When you think illegal drugs, you might think of people in and out at all hours, but cartel leaders live in much more discrete set-ups.
“He had a wife, two children, three children, I think. They were all in school over in Raytown. Nice middle-class family,” Jackson County Drug Task Force Officer-in-Charge Dan Cummings said.
That’s Cummings’ recollection of a Sinaloa captain living in the metro a couple years ago, using construction and remodeling as his front. Picture this: five-gallon buckets, some with paint, some with liquid meth, can sit in a fixer upper and exchange hands with little suspicion.
“We were buying multiple kilos of methamphetamine at Home Depot,” Cummings said.
Unbeknownst to the store, his undercover crew would routinely pick up product in parking lots in the middle of the day.
He was not familiar with the CJNG splurge at the Sprint Center on $10,000 tickets to a Pitbull concert, but says CJNG cells have existed on and off all around the metro to include not just KCMO and KCK, but in Lee’s Summit, Belton, Grandview, Raytown, Independence and Overland Park.
“There are dozens and dozens of established cells working right now in this area,” Cummings said.
He says the violence associated with turf wars over transportation routes to the United States is primarily confined to Mexico. He also says the two cartels have had pretty much a gentleman’s agreement in the United States to let people do business, but there is still violence associated with the commercial side of those transactions.