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Drugs

Liquid Meth Floods Into SoCal

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Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 8:01 AM
click to enlarge ICE VIA THE CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
  • Ice via the California Attorney General's office
As if the crystal form of methamphetamine wasn't bad enough, we now have liquid meth, which kills.

It's not made for public consumption, but it's a problem. The liquid form of meth is largely smuggled by cartels and drug gangs from Mexico so that it can be turned into "ice" closer to its final destination - the U.S. market.

State officials this week announced a huge liquid-meth bust in San Bernardino County, but they're not yet saying that all that would-be speed was sourced south of the border:

"Transnational criminal organizations are bringing the drug into California," a spokesman for Attorney General Kamela Harris told us. "The state agents put a lot of effort recently in looking into how the drugs come into California."

But, he said, "we don't know yet" if this is Mexican liquid.

Two suspects were arrested at a meth "conversion lab" at 37767 Mountain View Road in Hinkley, California, Harris' office said. 

Jorge Valdez, 34, and Miguel Angel Sanchez, 24, were booked on suspicion of manufacturing and possessing for sale methamphetamine, according to the Attorney General's office. Both were being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

They were collared after state agents served a search warrant at the address and found "50 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, which is capable of producing 1,250 lbs. of crystal methamphetamine.," the A.G.'s office alleged.

The end product of all that liquid would have been worth $7.2 million on the street, prosecutors said.

click to enlarge ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
  • Attorney General's office
Liquid meth has fueled an explosion in meth-related smuggling from Mexico. The Attorney General reports that a whopping 70 percent of America's methamphetamine comes through the border at San Diego.

Authorities have seen a three-fold increase in the drug's importation since 2009, according to the A.G.'s estimates.

The smuggling blew up after state and federal officials cracked down on rural meth labs and precursor drugs once readily available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Cold medicine psuedoephedrine was often used to cook up meth.

Facing restricted availability (you now need an ID and can only purchase so much psuedoephedrine), problem-solving cartels stepped in and started shipping liquid meth northward, often in the gas tanks of vehicles.

Texas is also being flooded with a "deluge" of liquid meth that is then converted in makeshift labs to crystalline form in the United States, the Dallas Morning News said over the weekend.

Back in California, Harris said this:
California is the national epicenter of its trafficking and distribution, so I have made it a priority of the California Department of Justice's task forces to stop those who would sell and manufacture this debilitating drug.
Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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