Seizures of methamphetamine at the U.S.-Mexico border surged to a new high in fiscal year 2014, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers published Sunday.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the bureau’s local field office seized 14,732 pounds of the drug, commonly known as meth, as of Sept. 30. That number accounted for nearly two-thirds of of all the meth seized at all ports of entry nationwide during that same period.
Almost all of the meth consumed in the U.S. was once manufactured domestically, with San Diego as a known production hub.
But a crackdown in the U.S. on the precursor chemicals used to make the synthetic drug has pushed its manufacture south of the border, where drug cartels now find it cheaper and easier to produce and smuggle over the border than cocaine from South America, the paper reported.
With the California border as their main smuggling route, “the Mexican cartels are flooding the U.S. marketplace with their cheap methamphetamine,” said Gary Hill, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s assistant special agent in charge in San Diego.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures also show a 300 percent increase in meth seizures at California ports of entry from fiscal 2009 to 2014.
Agents find the drug, often in smaller quantities, strapped to pedestrians crossing the border, in gas tanks, mixed in with clothing or hidden in food cans emptied of their original contents. In some instances, smugglers are liquefying the drug and trying to conceal it as windshield washer fluid.
Undercover agents are buying the stuff in San Diego for about $3,500 a pound — about a third the cost of a pound of cocaine — and prices have been decreasing since 2008, Hill said. He added that, unlike with cocaine, drug cartels can eliminate the middleman by directly overseeing meth manufacturing and the smaller overhead means a cheaper street price in the U.S.
Original article published by Foxnews.com