Once the province of domestic drug makers, much of the methamphetamine coursing through the US now originates in Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reports. Through the first half of the year, Mexico’s military found 103 meth labs, 25% more than last year, when a record 6.2 tons of the synthetic drug were seized at the US border. Already this year, authorities have seized nearly that much. Though the number of US meth labs is rising, 96% of those busted in 2010 couldn't produce more than two ounces of the drug—just enough for personal use, leaving mass production to Mexico.
In recent weeks, Mexican authorities discovered a warehouse holding 839 tons of meth and ecstasy ingredients. With a gram of meth going for some $100, “hundreds of millions of dollars could be at stake,” writes Nicholas Casey. While demand is low in Mexico, half a million Americans are believed to be users. And synthetic drugs, notes a Mexican official, “can be produced in only a few hours with higher dividends, unlike marijuana whose harvest takes months and requires more manpower.”