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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Mexico Rises to Meet Demand for Synthetic Drugs as the Number of Labs In The US Declines

By "El Huaso" for Borderland Beat

National Guard in front of a seized drug lab. Photo: @GN_MEXICO_

As the United States suffers a synthetic drug use crisis marked by record overdoses, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) figures show the number of drug labs in the United States is decreasing. In Mexico, government data suggests that synthetic drug production has increased to meet demand.

A recent article by news site Milenio cites DEA data on drug labs found between the years of 2020 and 2022, revealing that 539 drug labs have been found inside the United States. One of the most striking findings is the drastic reduction in synthetic drug production in the United States, despite soaring addiction and overdose rates. In 2020, 231 labs were seized. The following year, this figure fell 24% to 176. In 2022, just 137 labs were found, a further decrease of 25% from 2021.

At the same time, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows that methamphetamine continues to be seized at the southern border in staggering quantities, after sharp increases since the early 2010s.

The CBP figures match Mexican government statistics that show that more drug labs are being seized in Mexico than ever before. Further, seizures of meth domestically by Mexico's army are up 168% since 2019.

These figures, contextualized by the declining number of production sites in the United States, suggest that Mexico has risen to meet demand for synthetic drugs in the United States.

Indeed, in their 2020 Drug Threat Assessment, the DEA claimed that "Mexican TCOs continue to be the primary producers and suppliers of low cost, high purity methamphetamine available in the United States". This statement echoes what researchers, journalists, and Mexico's government are saying.

Earlier last year, Mexico's Secretary of Defense, General Luis Cresencio Sandoval reported that organized crime groups shifted their focus from cultivated drugs such as marijuana and heroin towards synthetics beginning in the early 2010s, due to their increased ease of transport and higher profits. According to Sandoval, this has now caused an increase in synthetic drug use in Mexico.

In a recent investigation, think tank InSight Crime found that this shift happened at the same that Mexican criminal organizations vacated the marijuana market, displaced by legal supply in the United States.


  1. Cool beans. Well anybody know what fentanyl smells like when your neighbors are illegally cooking it in their garage?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Is the meth in the states even pure right now, or is it crap? Can anyone with insight chime in

    1. Meth is being mixed with Fent 🤦🏽‍♂️

    2. Can be, that’s why you should know your source or test it

    3. 7:59 Well you should test for fent definitely but I’m talking about like just straight up raw purity. I heard meth lately hasn’t been so good. Probably a less pure and even more manic version of it going around these days. Impure drugs have such weird side effects. I also don’t find it very surprising that cocaine overdoses have risen as purity has gone down because people have to ultimately take “more”.

    4. It's really not even the same drug as it was during the 90's and early 00's. P2P changed everything the shit being produced today is predominantly L-Meth which produces the majority of the negative side effects. Rapid heart rate, increased sweating, paranoia D-Meth produces the wanted euphoric effects. Ephedrine is no longer used in production and gov bans have forced the cartels to switch precursors so many times that what you find now is highly pure but w very little D-Meth. It is mainly L-Meth and what used to be considered waste product. Used to be 70-80% D-Meth where now you find 80-90% L-Meth. The price per kilo has dropped so much over the years the cartels don't care what there producing. It's leading to a whe lot of mental illness because people are using so much meth inorder to get high. In the 90s good quality D-Meth a Gram would last a week with today's trash people can go through a ball 3.5 Grams in one smoking session. The cartels with the help of Chinese chemists have hit on group of precursors that can now be used to produce Meth and or Fent they are interchangeable which is exactly what they want. Believe me when I tell you, meth today sucks and isn't the same drug as it was 20 years ago.

    5. The P2P route produces equal amounts of the l and d enantiomers as any other synthesis that creates a stereo center without a chiral directing agent. Ephedrine, a natural product, already had the chirality to produce the d isomer. While there is apparently no definitive study, chronic users of P2P meth seem to have more adverse effects than abusers of the old pure d isomer.

    6. 11:50 Thanks for the info

    7. @7:22 so that explains what happened to Sir lol

  4. Can you find out what the 3 narcomantas from los mexicles in juarez said everywhere i check they have it blurred out it was from el tower netos replacement

  5. It smells like cookies, really.

  6. Ummm they give dinosaur time for manufacturing in the states. It’s been a transition from U.S. manufacturing vs Mexican manufacturers. And it happened like 20+ years ago. Too much time to risk when they make that crap dirt cheap and pure down south. This article is like 20 years late.

  7. Anyone smoking blues is a piece of shit scumbag kill yourself please

  8. "Mexico Rises" to the occasion. How impressive. 🤔


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