Latest Texas Housing Crisis? The Drug Cartel Next Door

housing crisisThanks to the housing crisis and an increase in foreclosures, Texas homeowners have yet another worry to keep them up at night. The Mexican drug cartel's presence could be increasing in leafy North Texas neighborhoods. A Dallas County constable says he has helped both the Dallas Police and the DEA take down 40 drug homes in peaceful, middle- to upper-class north Dallas neighborhoods in the last three years.

"They'll do whatever it takes to get into your neighborhood and hide," says Constable Ben Adamcik.

The tanking Mexican economy is driving the drug cartels north to Texas, says Adamcik, where they are getting great deals on foreclosed homes and hiding inside nice neighborhoods where no one would ever suspect drug activity. That's where police are going in to find huge caches of high-powered weapons, bullet proof vests, silencers, and pounds of cocaine, ecstasy, ice, and marijuana for major drug profits.

Not all the operations are Mexican cartels; Adamcik has shut down domestic operations as well that were so well organized one was harvesting marijuana in three houses, and had a "harvest
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schedule" prominently on display. Law enforcement experts estimated it was a $3.2 million dollar operation being run by a seven person ring. They were so professional, says Adamcik, they sent their employees to business schools for motivational training. The leader of the operation lived in a high rise penthouse near downtown Dallas.

One of the biggest problems, says Dallas resident Charles Morgan, who owns a high-end resort in Los Cabos called Querencia, is the proliferation of gun dealers along the Mexican border. Morgan says exaggerated reports of crime in Mexico are hurting Mexican vacation home sales n the U.S.

"It is illegal to buy guns in Mexico, but I've been told there are thousands along the U.S. border where they come to buy the guns," he says.

Buy guns and apparently, U.S. homes. Could the Cartel's presence endanger the neighborhood and bring down home values? You bet.

"We always have to worry about booby traps," says Adamcik. "And if we're worried about our safety, what do you think the residents should be worried about that live in the immediate area?"

Law enforcement officers say these things could mean a drug dealer is operating out of a home:

-Sealed-off windows and doors
-Dark shades
-Curtains that seldom open
-Burglar bars recently installed
-Houses with very little activity.

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