We joke that meth is really just crack for rednecks. But that's an old stereotype. The truth is that the methamphetamine business has been taken over by Mexican cartels, which have shaped it into a massive, international phenomenon.

Sort of like what Starbucks did for coffee. It's no longer a home-brew activity.

Consider this bust at LAX, announced today by U.S. Customs and Border protection:

Agents say they nabbed 5,700 pounds of a meth precursor chemical known as methylamine chloride. And, as an indication of how industrialized and international the crystal biz has become, the stuff wasn't headed for a trailer park:

Credit: CBP

Credit: CBP

No, it was going from China to Mexico, with a stop at LAX, federal agents say.

The final product made from the methylamine chloride could have been worth a whopping $40 million, according to the CPB.

Two shipments, 80 bags worth, were intercepted on April 19 and 23, authorities said.

The CBP:

Methylamine chloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong-odor chemical. In one pathway, it is essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy. Methylamine chloride is a List 1 controlled substance by the DEA with many legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products.

Darn, said the toothless guy.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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