Mexican drug cartels have adapted to changes in drug distribution caused by the pandemic, according to the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are processing fentanyl into pill form for easier transport, the agency said.
Cartels are also using mail services to send smaller and more frequent loads of fentanyl and other highly potent drugs to criminal networks in New York, NBC New York reports.
The DEA reported a 214% increase in meth seizures and a 59% increase in fentanyl seizures in 2020 compared with the previous year.
“Approximately 90% of all the illicit drugs in the United States come from Mexico and the majority go to major transportation hubs like New York for further distribution,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said in a statement. “Since the initial disruption of COVID-19, Mexican cartels have reinforced supplies of precursor materials, increased production and are sending larger fentanyl and methamphetamine loads into the U.S.”