Liquid methamphetamine, easily smuggled now flooding into California
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/15/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
As long as there is a demand, illegal narcotics will find its way into the hands of abusers. In a recent demonstration of that hard, unhappy fact is methamphetamine, now turned into liquid, rolling into the State of California. Drug pushers are smuggling the deadly, virulent speed in liquor bottles and casks of laundry detergent.
Disguising methamphetamine in liquid form in tequila bottles is a common practice among drug smugglers.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The methamphetamine is dissolved in a solution and concealed in bottles in order to fool border agents and traffic officers.
California's Central Valley, which is a national distribution hub, has its meth labs rapidly then converting the liquid into crystals, which is the most sought-after form on the street.
Tougher restrictions has driven the potentially explosive super-labs south of the border. Methamphetamine production in Mexico escapes the sight of U.S. law enforcement. Smaller conversion labs are popping up domestically in neighborhoods, such as one in Fresno, California where a house exploded and went up in flames two years ago.
In that case, the meth cookers inside the home had sealed it tightly so the tale-tell fumes didn't give them away.
"These guys, they don't have Ph.D.'s in chemistry," Sgt. Matt Alexander of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office scoffs. "They're focused on not getting caught."
Agents in Central California say they have been seeing more methamphetamine traffic in the past few years. One California Highway Patrol officer in 2012 pulled over a 20-year-old man on Interstate 5 who said he was headed to Oregon from Southern California. The driver of the car appeared agitated.
The officer then discovered 15 bottles in the trunk full of dissolved meth which was labeled as Mexican tequila. The man pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and received a federal prison sentence of 46 months.
In another case, three men were indicted in late 2013 and await trial after a drug task force found 12 gallons of liquid meth in a Fresno house along with 42 pounds of the drug ready for sale, four guns and 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
In addition, officers raided a Madera home earlier this year, finding a lab used to convert liquid meth into 176 pounds of crystals with a street value over $1 million. There were no arrests in that case, but agents said the bust dealt a blow to the organization behind the lab.
Law enforcement agencies are always on the lookout for creative ways cartels use to smuggle meth. Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigation's Fresno office, says that "We've become better at detecting certain things . When they catch on to that, they modify their methods."
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