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New Drug Trade Bucking the System

When Mexico and drugs are in the same sentence, innovation is not likely to be included. In the case of immigrants from an obscure corner of Mexico, the LA Times reports they are changing heroin use and creating demand where none had existed.

Farm boys in a tiny country Xalisco in the Pacific Coast state of Nayarit, Mexico, that once survived on sugar cane production have perfected a business model for selling a semi-processed form of Mexican heroin known as black tar.

With the use of delivery by car and aggressive marketing, these boys have moved into cities and towns throughout the United States, pushing their creation.

These immigrants have found success due to their product, which happens to be cheaper and more potent than Colombian heroin, and their business model, which actually places a premium on customer convenience and satisfaction. Users phone in their orders and drivers deliver the drugs.

Crew bosses have been known to call after delivery to check on the quality of service. Users are encouraged to bring in new customers, offering free heroin as a reward. The networks are small, decentralized businesses and each is run by an entrepreneur. There is no powerful leader and guns are rarely used.

This group has mined enormous profits from the retail trade, selling heroin a tenth of a gram at a time. Prices have been reduced by competition in the trade, furthering the spread of heroin addiction.

"I call them the Xalisco boys," said Dennis Chavez in the Times. Chavez is a Denver police narcotics officer who has arrested dozens of dealers from Xalisco and has studied their connections to other cities. "They're nationwide."

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