DEA: 240 street gangs operate in the St. Louis area -

DEA: 240 street gangs operate in the St. Louis area

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

The DEA says around 240 street gangs operate in the St. Louis area, making most of their money through the drug trade.

DEA agent James Shroba says the gangs are operating in a confined space and creating a toxic environment.

“There are 240 documented street gangs in a metropolitan area that isn’t that big,” said Shroba. “They invariably conflict with one another because of the drug trade, because of other illegal activities they may be involved with, and what results is a series of back and forth attacks.”

Authorities believe the gangs are making most of their money through drug trafficking. The recent rise of the heroin epidemic is making the problem worse.

In January, the DEA announced its “360 Strategy,” in which it teams up with police, schools, the medical community and the grassroots to fight heroin.

An expert on heroin addiction said he is not surprised by the number of street gangs in the St. Louis area.

“Those numbers don’t phase me at all, that’s the reality. We’re soaked with distribution. There’s demand there, the country has an insatiable appetite for opiates. So many people are addicted to pain pills, which leads to heroin addiction,” said Chad Sabora with the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery.

In 2015, Americans turned in 750,000 pounds of prescription pills.

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