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Cartels shipping drugs to Italy via Texas

DALLAS, April 21 (UPI) -- Mexican cartels looking for new markets are moving cocaine through Texas to the Mafia in Italy, federal drug enforcement officials say.

"We've got some of the major cartel members established here dealing their wares in Europe," said James Capra, head of the Dallas office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Cocaine sold overseas brings three times the amount of money a dealer can get in Dallas, Capra told The Dallas Morning News in a story published Tuesday.

Dallas and Houston are hubs for cartels smuggling cocaine from Mexico. From Texas, narcotics can be smuggled overseas with legitimately exported products, as was the case last year when U.S. agents found cocaine hidden among candles being shipped to the Camorra Mafia group in Naples, Italy, said Antonio Nicaso, an internationally recognized expert on Italian organized crime.

"Places like Houston and Dallas are where these criminal organizations are most likely to invest their money," he said.

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