CINCINNATI — Meth use is rampant in Ohio and the region's top Drug Enforcement Administration agent warns that new addiction could bring a crime wave your way.
"Simple assaults, robberies, burglaries - that's what comes along with meth because people are hooked," said Mauricio Jimenez, DEA assistant special agent in charge of Ohio.
The DEA sees people using meth to wean themselves off opiates.
"They are looking for ways to get money. They are breaking into homes. We're seeing the same patterns that we saw in methamphetamines in the 90s," Jiminez said.
High-grade meth from Mexico is fueling a new-age drug business. There are no large gangs with middlemen tied to cartels, just a small number of opportunists with direct access to "super labs" south of the border.
"It's not people just trying to make money. They are killing people left and right. They don't care," Jimenez said.
Jimenez is not sure where locals connect with cartels, but he said fighting fentanyl remains the priority, even if meth and cocaine make it hard.
Dealers have so much meth and coke that they are mixing opiates into both drugs in order to sell off supplies. Users often have no idea.
"There's a lot of people smoking crack or they're doing lines of coke and they're not waking up because what they took was probably 100% fentanyl or a mixture thereof that their bodies cannot accept," Jimenez said.
Typically, meth overdoses hardly resemble opiate overdoses and all the deaths that caused the government to pour money and manpower into stopping abuse.
How authorities plan crackdowns is unknown. But DEA officials told us they will be relentless.