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Kansas City seen as hub for drug traffickers from Mexico

A federal study has put Kansas City on the map in a way that it never wanted.

Maps from the study show Kansas City as a prime destination for drug traffickers who bring cocaine, heroin, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, methamphetamine from Mexico. And Interstate 35 is their highway of choice.

“Kansas City is a hub,” said Mike Oyler, an FBI agent who investigates drug trafficking in Missouri and Kansas. “It’s like a trucking business. You have two of the biggest interstates in the country converging here.”

The maps are the clearest official statement yet of what officials have written for about a decade: Kansas City is both a significant drug market and a major distribution point for drugs headed north and east from the U.S. Southwest.

The maps are contained in the National Drug Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Drug Threat Assessment, its annual unclassified study of emerging trends in drug trafficking, the use of illegal drugs and the organizations that perpetuate the narcotics business.

In years past, the center, which compiles the threat assessment from seizure data and interviews with federal, state and local law enforcement, has confined its mapping to broad corridors.

In last year’s report, Kansas City sat, undistinguished, in the middle of a transportation map bounded by Duluth, Minn., to the north, Chicago and New Orleans to the east, Laredo, Texas, to the south and a meandering line from the Big Bend area of Texas back to Duluth in the West.

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