DALLAS- Authorities fear escalating border violence has made its way north to Dallas, where major roadways and airports make it among the nation's most important drug distribution points.
A December shooting at a home in the city section was a wake-up call to the threat posed by the northern spread of dangerous Mexican drug cartels, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday editions.
It involved a man who came to the neighborhood, shot one man dead and injured three others before leaving. Inside two homes, police investigating the shooting found $2 million worth of cocaine and more than $300,000 in cash.
Some FBI sources told the newspaper the shooting is believed to be related to the bloody feud between Mexico's Juarez cartel and archrival Gulf cartel for control of drug routes into the United States. The feud has turned parts of the Texas-Mexico border into a battle zone.
In early June, a federal task force arrested more than three dozen people _ most in Dallas _ in a major drug bust that officials said involved Mexican drug cartels.
Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Phil Jordan said traffickers see Dallas as a hub for moving into cities in the rest of the country. Dallas is at least 650 kilometers (400 miles) north of the Mexican border.
"Dallas is the new Miami for transiting drugs," said Jordan, former head of the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center, which studies the drug trade. "Drug traffickers kill for (highway) I-35."
Illegal and legal cargo crosses over from Mexico to Laredo, the busiest land border crossing into the United States.
Most of the goods are funneled up I-35, the drug traffickers' route of choice. The highway runs through Dallas before ending 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) later in Duluth, Minnesota, near the Canadian border.
"Let's say you want to transport 2,000 pounds of marijuana, or cocaine, to the U.S.," said Jordan. "You get 10 or 20 cars on I-35, and maybe you lose one load, but you still get 1,800 pounds across. The odds are with you."