When police were called last month to a rented house in a middle-class suburban Atlanta neighborhood, they found a scene that the Chicago Tribune says has become familiar in the Atlanta area since Mexican drug cartels began setting up shop in well-established communities, in the midst of unsuspecting neighbors.
“We found a dead body in the living room and a dead body in the den. The floor was covered with kilo wrappers [for drugs] and there was a money-counting machine set to count hundred-dollar bills,” said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter, who spends much of his limited resources on drug-trafficking cases. “There were mattresses on the bedroom floor, a pickup in the garage and big buckets of charcoal placed throughout the house to absorb the odor of cocaine.”
The Obama administration announced plans last week to shore up efforts along the Southwest border and send agents to Mexico to attack drug cartels responsible for thousands of murders, beheadings, and kidnappings there. Meanwhile, law-enforcement officials in the U.S. are waging their own battles to crack down on drug-related crimes that have spread to cities and small towns. “Atlanta is like ‘Miami Vice’ in the 1980s,” said Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Georgia. “We ship more cocaine to Florida than we get from Florida.”