Both heroin and methamphetamine seizures are up nearly 300 percent in Arizona over the past five years, a Drug Enforcement Administration report said.
The report, released Thursday, said methamphetamine seizures have increased 294 percent. After the United States cracked down on chemicals used to make the drugs over the past decade, the DEA said drug cartels in Mexico have become the leading manufacturer and supplier of meth that winds up the United States.
The DEA said the cartels have “super laboratories” capable of producing hundred-pound quantities of the drug. The cartels have an easier time getting their hands on the necessary chemicals because of less-restrictive Mexican laws.
The agency called heroin a “serious and increasing threat” in Arizona. Seizures of the narcotic are up 246 percent in the past five years, the report said.
The report said the rise of heroin usage is directly attributable to the increase of opiate-based prescription drugs. As people use the prescriptions, they become addicted and later turn to heroin to meet their needs.
The DEA called Mexican cartels and the drugs they sell “the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States.” It specifically cited the Sinaloa Cartel, which operates along the Mexico-Arizona border, as one of the worst.