Top law enforcement officials say an influx of Mexican methamphetamine is overshadowing recent success in curtailing homegrown meth labs and is fueling a crime wave caused by addicts who can stay awake for days, the Washington Post reports. At a conference yesterday, attorneys general from eight states met to share strategies for combating methamphetamine use and trafficking. “It is probably the ugliest drug that has come down the pike in 40 years,” said Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell, who hosted the conference. “It is highly addictive. It is poor man’s crack.” McDonnell estimates 80 to 90 percent of meth found in Virginia now comes from Mexico. The drug labs that once dotted rural Virginia are now largely gone.
Crime associated with Mexican meth appears to be worsening, officials said. Because the drug can keep users up for extended periods of time, law enforcemers say some get bored and start committing computer crimes such as identity theft. The drug is also being linked to a surge in sex offenses. Unlike the crack epidemic in the 1980s, which was largely confined to cities, meth users spans all geographic, cultural and economic backgrounds. A 2004 study estimated that 12 million Americans admitted to using the drug.