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Meth from Mexico: AP report is accurate

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July 2, 2013


The manufacture of methamphetamine in the U.S. — and Bartow County — isn’t  happening in kitchens, garages, basements or seedy motel rooms. Instead, it is  increasingly coming from our neighbors to the south.

“Between 2 and 5  percent of the drugs that are here originate here,” Bartow-Cartersville Drug  Task Force Commander Capt. Mark Mayton said.

According to a report from  The Associated Press last week, the smuggling of meth across the U.S.-Mexico  border has increased in recent years, highlighted by San Diego’s San Ysidro port  of entry, which accounted for more than 40 percent of methamphetamine seizures  in 2012.

The AP reported inspectors seized 13,195 pounds of meth along  the border last year.

The report is a reflection of what Mayton said  occurs locally. “All of them come from our southern borders, so it directly  affects what happens here.”

Although credit has been given to the  domestic crackdown on labs and the chemicals used to manufacture the drug,  Mayton said the problem of running meth from Mexico is not a new  one.

“During my career, it has always been predominantly from our  southern borders. [The crackdown] hasn’t forced it to come from somewhere else.  It has forced them to find other means to get it here,” said the 22-year veteran  of law enforcement.

To get the product here, manufacturers bring it  through checkpoints, walk it across the border and ship it in.

“[They  bring drugs] directly through checkpoints,” Mayton said. “They walk it across in  isolated regions where there is no checkpoint. They have border sensors all up  and down the border, but they can alleviate those things and get around them.  They are walking it across, sending it in trains, sending it in cars, in  trucks.”

Once across the border, he added, the drugs are staged in the  Southwestern United States and distributed in bulk shipments across the  country.

Joe Garcia, assistant special agent in charge of ICE  investigations in San Diego, told The Associated Press that children are caught  several times a week with methamphetamine strapped to their bodies. They are  typically paid $50 to $200 for each trip, carrying 3 pounds on  average.

Drivers, who collect up to $2,000 per trip, conceal  methamphetamine in bumpers, batteries, radiators and almost any other crevice  imaginable. Packaging is smothered with mustard, baby powder and laundry  detergent to fool drug-sniffing dogs.

Crystals are increasingly dissolved  in water, especially during the last year, making the drug more difficult to  detect in giant X-ray scanners that inspectors order some motorists to drive  through. The water is later boiled and often mixed with acetone, a combustible  fluid used in paints that yields clear shards of methamphetamine favored by  users. The drug often remains in liquid form until reaching its final  distribution hub.

Although “miniscule amounts” of meth are made here, the  increase in production outside the border may be a simple matter of  economics.

“Why do you think it’s more costly? … It’s actually cheaper  to make it there,” Mayton explained. “They get bulk precursors there. The  oversight there is not what it is here. The regulations that are put on imports,  and even the regulations that are put on retail inventory is not that way there.  All that stuff is readily available there for them to make meth. Their law  enforcement presence, they have so much corruption in their law enforcement as  it is.

“It’s actually easier for them to make it there, bring it here.  The people they are sending it with are expendable. These are not important  people bringing it into our country; these are people that, if they get caught,  that’s the cost of doing business.”

On a cost-to-cost analysis, meth  presents a better return on investment than marijuana.

“I want to say  there is a better profit margin in meth because they are able to bring smaller  amounts and make more profits,” Mayton said. “… They have to send so much more  of the weed to make that kind of money, which they are making great money off  the weed, but they can send smaller amounts of the meth and make the same amount  of money for a larger amount of weed.”

And cost is a factor in fighting  the war on drugs.

“We have seen a reduction in the number of labs since  the legislation [monitoring the sale of] Sudafed. We were doing anywhere from 35  to 55 labs a year, and now we are doing maybe five a year. And we are OK with  that. I would rather chase the other side of that coin as the labs,” Mayton  said. “It’s so taxing on us locally. Used to, before sequestration and all these  budget constraints, the federal government would assist us in paying for the  disposal of those hazardous materials. Now, that falls right back on us, and our  money is tight just like everyone else’s.”

The solution, however, is not  an easy one.

“The true solution is to shut down our borders … With the  immigration issues that are coming up, we’ve got to secure that southern  border,” Mayton said. “They’re still going to get it in here, but we will see a  significant reduction in the amount of drugs that are coming across if we shut  the border down. “Now, is that unrealistic and Utopian in nature?  Probably so. But I think we could do a better job than we are doing securing our  borders.”–White%3D-C-Meth-from-Mexico–AP-report-reflects-local-trend?instance=main_article



About Doc

Spreading the word about the dangers of methamphetamine.

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