TOPEKA (KSNT) – Are there cartels in Kansas?

When Kansas Senator Roger Marshall appeared on 27 News earlier this week he asserted there were cartels in Shawnee County working “hand in glove” with cartels in Mexico flooding our markets with the highly-addictive drug fentanyl.

Public Information Officer for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Andree Swanson said it was an oversimplification of a complex issue to say there are cartels in Topeka.

“All drug trafficking in the United States can be traced through a distribution network that will go back to Mexico,” Swanson told 27 News. “It is simplifying it to say there are cartels in Topeka.”

Although, Swanson added that there is a presence in Kansas that has direct connections to cartels. Because of Kansas’ location in the U.S., the state is a transportation hub for drugs and money for the north and northeast. Often the drugs that come into the state are headed for other areas of the country.

According to Swanson, fentanyl is often cut into other drugs like cocaine, making it cheap to make and thus maximizing profits.

KSNT 27 News reached out to the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office through emails and phone calls but has not heard back from them. The Topeka Police Department would not comment about a cartel presence in the Capital City.

Marshall said the border crisis is allowing for fentanyl surges in Kansas. The Drug Enforcement Agency said China is the leading source of fentanyl powder and chemicals that go into making the drug. While a spokesperson with the DEA said the United States has done a good job banning these chemicals from coming into the U.S., they can’t stop it all.

According to the D.E.A., the flow of fentanyl into the United States will continue to be diversified. India is quickly emerging as a provider of fentanyl powder.

While Mexico and China are the primary sources of fentanyl, the flow includes routes from Canada and is even shipped using traditional U.S. Mail services, according to the D.E.A.