Mexican drug cartels are filling the void in the nation’s drug market created by the long effort to crack down on American-made methamphetamine, flooding U.S. cities with cheap, potent meth from factorylike “superlabs,” says the Associated Press. Although Mexican meth is not new to the U.S. drug trade, it now accounts for as much as 80 percent of the meth sold here, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And it is as much as 90 percent pure, a level that offers users a faster, more intense and longer-lasting high.
The cartels are expanding into the U.S. meth market just as they did with heroin: developing an inexpensive, highly addictive form of the drug and sending it through the same pipeline already used to funnel marijuana and cocaine, authorities said. Seizures of meth along the Southwest border have more than quadrupled over the last several years, from about 4,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 16,000 pounds in 2011. During that same period, the purity of Mexican meth shot up too, from 39 percent in 2007 to 88 percent by 2011, according to DEA documents. The price fell from $290 per pure gram to less than $90. Mexican meth has a clearer, glassier appearance than more crudely produced formulas and often resembles ice fragments, usually with a clear or bluish-white color.