Chicago's top drug cop: Cartels make Chicago a drug distribution center for the whole Midwest

February 15, 2013

As news of Chicago's connection to Mexican drug cartels makes the rounds, Chicago's top narcotics cop explains how the drug cartels operate in the city.
 
James O'Grady is the commander of the Narcotics Division for the Chicago Police Department.
 
WBEZ interviewed O'Grady to examine the role the drug trade plays in Chicago's prominent violence problem.
 
"[Cartels] transport large amounts of narcotics into the Chicago area which is the distribution center for the whole Midwest. Once it hits Chicago, some of those narcotics stay here, some is shipped on to Michigan, to Indiana and parts of the Midwest," he said.
 
He also explained how Chicago's transportation infrastructure makes it easy for the cartels to transport – and hide – drugs.
 
"You will never see them sitting on the corners with the guys. They're just there to distribute the narcotics. They drop it off to their people, who break it open and break it up into retail bags for sale on their corners."