Man who fought drug cartels says they’ve come to St. Louis

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Colonel Joe Adams

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ST. LOUIS – One of the leading fighters in the war on drugs has had a St. Louis address for decades. You might not know Colonel Joe Adams’ name but you're almost certainly familiar with his work.

He was nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor after fighting drug cartel crime and rescuing women and children who were being trafficked.

The colonel says if people don't think cartels are in St. Louis, they need to wake up.

You can’t tell by just looking at him but Colonel Adams has been a warrior in the fight on cartel crime.

Adams and his undercover team have spent the last 12 years on the US-Mexico border. He’s fought against the work of cartel groups also responsible for gunning down 9 members of a family with dual citizenship last month near the border.

No cartel heads have been brought to justice.

Adams says at one point he’d heard of a million-dollar contract taken out on his life. He’s warning the cartel is infiltrating our country and St. Louis in particular.

“Yes, the cartel is effecting crime in St. Louis. Now and in the future. A lot more,” he said.

Adams says while murders are up in the city, it’s from disorganized crime. But once the cartels organize it—which they are masters of doing, according to Adams—more problems will come.

“We don't control our borders, the cartels do,” Adams said. “We don't have enough manpower to man the borders.”

He says his unit rescued over a thousand women and children who were headed for the sex slave trade industry.

“We ran ghost operations. Our best mission was never to be detected and there's a lot of people sitting in jail right now,” he said. “Drug dealers, smugglers, and human traffickers that don't know how they got caught.”

Dr. Michael Barbieri worked with Colonel Adams in 40 different countries, including Nicaragua, where Adams was chosen by President Reagan to train, protect, and lead the Contras. Barbieri says Adams is the real deal.

Colonel Adams served as a Marine and worked as a tracked for the FBI. He was also once employed by the CIA and DEA.

Adams and his colleagues say the movie “Rambo III” was based on some of his work while training and leading the Burmese resistance.

He says he is extremely concerned that we don't have people willing to be border patrol agents, calling it a crisis.

“We send troops all over the world to fight terrorism. We have just as bad a terrorism problem on our southern borders and people don't recognize it,” he said.

Adams is now being encouraged to speak by friends who see a problem brewing. Now, he focuses much of his time on stopping sex trafficking working with Saleh, the largest anti-trafficking organization in the United States.

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