In small-town USA, business as usual for Mexican cartels

Story highlightsJustice Department: Cartels operate in 1,286 U.S. cities, five times the 2008 number Rural eastern North Carolina one of many spots where DEA is seeing cartel activityDEA brings CNN along for raid yielding 115 pounds of marijuana, $76,899 in cashBeing stationed in cartel-ridden Mazatlan, Mexico, taught agent importance of sourcesLess than a mile off a county road in Ivanhoe near the Black River, federal drug agents and local authorities found exactly what their informant had promised.

"We saw what looked like, as far as you could see, marijuana plants," said Drug Enforcement Administration agent Michael Franklin.

There were about 2,400 in all, surrounded by a