COLUMBIA, Mo. - From Kansas City to Columbia to St. Louis, the drug cartel is actively smuggling drugs into 16 counties in the state of Missouri.
Sergeant Shannon Jeffries with the M.U.S.T.A.N.G. Drug Task Force said it's a growing problem.
"We have seen a slight increase in cartel members moving to areas not known for large levels of distribution," Jeffries said. "With drug cartels coming to certain areas or communities, we will often see more drug seizures on highways such as Interstate 70, Highway 54 or Highway 63."
A study by the National Drug Intelligence Center shows counties that are home to college students are a popular destination for cartel members to make a large profit.
"Typically college kids are known for using party drugs, your marijuana, your LSD, your mushrooms, your molly and stuff like that," said Jeffries.
He said law enforcement sees a lot of those types of drugs during drug seizures in Missouri.
Most of the seizures and capture of cartel members in Missouri stem from tips from informants that will spur an investigation, according to Jeffries.
Although law enforcement is constantly cracking down on drug trafficking, Jeffries said cartels will likely not stop.
"Drug dealers and drug traffickers won't just pick and choose their clientele, " he said. "They're constantly trying to push for new clients and to push their drugs."
There are six major cartels operating in the United States. The two with the highest level of operation in Missouri are the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels according the report from the National Drug Intelligence Center.