The Mexican drug cartels have established distribution networks and supply lines in 230 American localities, and Galax, VA is one of them. Mike Gangloff from The Roanoke Times has the back story on how the small town became "a regional hub in a drug pipeline extending back to Greensboro, N.C., Atlanta and the Texas-Mexico border." In short, the Mexican drug cartels are looking for smaller towns which do not have the law enforcement resources to challenge them but which also have a sufficiently high Latino population in which they can blend:
The growth of the Latino population in Galax -- long the highest concentration of Latino residents in Southwest Virginia and presently estimated at 15.4 percent -- is an old story. Among law enforcement officials, so is the presence of Mexican cartels here. * * * "Cartels tend to swim in the ocean of illegal aliens," said George Grayson, a professor of government at the College of William and Mary who has written extensively about U.S.-Mexico relations. He did not find it surprising that Galax and other small towns across the country with high concentrations of Hispanic residents would become beachheads in the cartels' push to expand their trafficking northward. "Often the cartels will use smaller towns ... as an area of operations because typically the law enforcement agencies don't have the resources to deal with the underworld characters," Grayson said.
Although the Obama Administration insists that drug cartel violence has not spilled over the border from Mexico into the United States, the area in fact saw two cartel-related murders last year:
Last year, two Mexican men were found shot to death along a logging road in Grayson County. Both were illegal immigrants, authorities said, and their deaths are thought to have been connected to drug dealing. The man suspected of shooting the two also is Mexican, and is thought to have returned to that country, Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan said.