Meth Seizures Soaring Throughout United States
Methamphetamine seizures are surging throughout the United States, according to federal drug data provided to NPR.
Methamphetamine seizures by border officers in Arizona have spiked as production of the drug increases in Mexico, the Associated Press reports. Officers seized more than 3,240 pounds of meth between October and May, compared with 3,200 pounds for the entire last fiscal year.
Meth is easier and less expensive to manufacture in Mexico, authorities say. Meth seizures have also increased in San Diego, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said earlier this year.
The San Diego field office of the customs agency seized 14,732 pounds of meth in the fiscal year ending September 30, accounting for 63 percent of meth seizures nationwide. The agency said there was a 300 percent increase in meth seizures at California entry points from 2009 to 2014. In the past year, meth seizures rose 8 percent. In contrast, seizures of marijuana, cocaine and heroin fell during the same period.
Between October and April, authorities at six Southern California border crossings seized 9,431 pounds of meth.
Much of the smuggled meth is brought into the country in relatively small quantities. It is often strapped to the bodies of pedestrian border crossers, carried inside sealed food cans, or hidden inside spare tires or engine compartments.
According to the DEA, about 90 percent of the meth consumed in the United States is made in Mexican labs.
U.S. laws that make it more difficult to manufacture meth have benefitted Mexican drug cartels, which operate “super labs” that can produce hundreds of pounds at once, according to Matt Barden, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Meth made in Mexico has a much higher purity level than U.S.-made meth, the article notes.
The current price of the drug is $8,000 to $10,000 per pound, down from its previous price of about $30,000 per pound, Barden said. “You can’t compete with that they have and (with) their prices,” he said.