This article is from guest blogger, Beverly M., LCSW who teaches an addiction class in California:
With the crack down on Methamphetamine labs from the federal, state, and local governments, many meth labs ceased operation and / or moved to Mexico. Statistics from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) show that there were 13,572 meth lab incidents in 2001. Six years later, the methamphetamine incident map shows a decrease of 65-percent down to 5,910 in 2007.
Amazingly, California’s Meth Lab incidents went down from the high 2,198 in 2000 to 286 in 2007. Missouri was hit hardest during the 2003, where Meth Lab incidents went up from 880 to 2,885. In 2007, Missouri meth lab incidents stabilized at 1,268. The meth lab incident reveals a trend of meth labs traveling to the Midwest (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois & Oklahoma). However, with the focus on decreasing meth labs, the trend has stabilized.
Many speculate that the reduction in Meth Lab incidents were due to many factors including the control of pseudoephedrine (the main ingredient in Meth), prevention, intervention, & treatment, and passing the “mom and pop labs” to Mexican drug gang’s “super labs”. These Mexico “super labs” were reported to be providing 70-percent of the U.S supplies. For the past few years, much of the methamphetamines have been cooked and transported from Mexico. Pseudoephedrine is readily available in Mexico and U.S crackdown sent the meth trade to south of the border, Mexico.
The Mexican drug gangs who gladly took over the production of methamphetamines in Mexico are now being stifled by the import restrictions Mexico has put on the transportation and sale of pseudoephedrine. The ban of the use and imports of pseudoephedrine have resulted in a decrease in meth production and a decreased flow of meth from Mexico into the United States.
Could the high meth lab incidents seen in 2001 return?
Federal authorities are now reporting that “smurfing” is an organized and widespread activity to gather large amounts of supplies of pseudoephedrine. “Smurf” is no longer a small blue cartoon character, but an act of traveling from store to store buying small amounts of pseudoephedrine. Everyone knows, if you go to Wal-Mart, one must buy only one box and register with their driver’s license to buy a box of Sudafed. Now, the gangs recruit homeless people, disadvantaged young adults and others and pay them to “Smurf”.
According to federal, state, and local authorities, many meth labs in Mexico have relocated to California most likely because pseudoephedrine has become more available to the “cooks” through smurfing in California than it was in Mexico. Large amounts of pseudoephedrine quantities have been seized in California. Where are they getting these supplies? From Smurfing. “Smurfing” may be the culprit for the return of the Meth lab to U. S. soil.