Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Mexican cartels turning to bigger labs

Mexican drug cartels are turning to bigger, more productive labs to churn out increasing quantities of synthetic drugs like meth and fentanyl, according to the Defense Department. There has been a shift by Mexican cartels away from naturally grown drugs like opium and marijuana, where seizures have fallen. Seizures of fentanyl soared 525% in the last three years. Mexican cops seized 1,232 pounds (559 kg) of fentanyl in 2016-2018 and 7,710 pounds (3,497 kg) in 2019-2021. The change was reflected in a drop of more than 50% in the amount of opium poppy fields destroyed in the last three years.
Seizures of methamphetamines, meanwhile, more than doubled. Meth seizures rose from 120,100 pounds (54,521 kg) in 2016-2018 to almost 275,000 pounds (124,735 kg) in the last three years, an increase of 128%. Mexico's synthetic drug boom was illustrated when a trucker from Mexico was arrested after trying to smuggle record-breaking amounts of meth and fentanyl into the U.S. More than 17,500 pounds (7,930 kg) of meth and 389 pounds (176 kg) of fentanyl were discovered hidden inside a tractor-trailer at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego in November.