The price of some illegal drugs has soared as law enforcement on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border target traffickers and Mexican drug cartels fight each other for control of the trade, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Office of National Drug Control Policy said in July it had tracked a large spike in cocaine prices: up at least 67 percent in 12 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and New York City, over the past six months. Other law enforcement officials say methamphetamine prices have gone up recently in areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego. Some law enforcement officials say the high prices could be an indication that there are serious disruptions in the drug pipeline through Mexico.
The price increases may be the result of local and international setbacks against traffickers. Just south of San Diego, drug cartels are battling each other and the Mexican federal government has stepped up its offensive against traffickers such as the Arellano Félix cartel. Mexican authorities dealt a setback to methamphetamine manufacturers this year in an investigation into the source of precursor chemicals from China that resulted in a huge bust in Mexico City. Tracking drug prices isn’t a precise science. It can vary according to geography, with prices differing in areas as little as 30 miles apart. When law enforcement cracks down on regional distributors, certain supply chains are affected while others are not. A pound of meth, selling for $5,000 to $10,000 last year, cost as much as $12,500 in April, says the San Diego Law Enforcement Coordiantion Center. Investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say the price rose even more – to between $14,000 and $16,000 – since July.