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Transportation and Distribution of Meth

Transportation of Meth

Drug seizure data indicate that methamphetamine smuggling from Mexico into the United States via the Arizona-Mexico border appears to have increased significantly. The amount of methamphetamine seized at or between Arizona POEs has increased from 168 kilograms in 2001, to 313 kilograms in 2002, and 640 kilograms in 2003. In fact, the amount of methamphetamine seized at or between POEs in Arizona in 2003 exceeded seizures at or between POEs in California (593 kg), Texas (484 kg), and New Mexico (16 kg).

NDIC Comment: The sharp increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized at or between POEs in Arizona is more likely an indication of an overall increase in methamphetamine smuggling from Mexico into the United States than a shift in smuggling routes in favor of Arizona POEs rather than California, New Mexico, or Texas POEs. EPIC data show that since 2002--the year law enforcement reporting indicates that methamphetamine production began to increase significantly in Mexico--methamphetamine seizures at or between POEs in California and Texas increased sharply, although not to the extent of the increases in Arizona. From 2002 to 2003 seizures at or between POEs in California and Texas increased from 478 to 593 kilograms and from 305 to 484 kilograms, respectively. Methamphetamine seizures at or between POEs in New Mexico were much lower than the other states along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2002 (33.53 kg) and 2003 (16.15 kg).

Distribution of Meth

Ice methamphetamine distribution has increased significantly since 2001 in many of the largest domestic methamphetamine markets. Anecdotal law enforcement reporting indicates that ice distribution has increased sharply in Honolulu, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis since 2001. In some methamphetamine markets ice is now considered the preferred form of the drug, supplanting powder methamphetamine as the predominant type. For example, DEA and HIDTA reporting indicate that ice methamphetamine now is the type most often distributed locally in Phoenix and San Diego, two of the Primary Market Areas for methamphetamine.

NDIC Comment: Ice distribution has increased in these cities because of a sharp increase in ice production and distribution by Mexican criminal groups seeking the higher profit margins associated with ice distribution. The costs associated with ice production are slightly higher than those of powder methamphetamine, and ice production requires greater knowledge and experience; however, ice methamphetamine often is sold at prices much higher than those of powder methamphetamine.

National Price Ranges of Methamphetamine in Dollars- 2003

? Pound Ounce Gram
Powder 1,600-45,000 270-5,000 20-300
Ice 6,000-70,000 500-3,100 60-700

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration.

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