In 2008, the DEA reported that the availability of methamphetamine remains high in north Texas, and the pace of enforcement activities surrounding methamphetamine continues to escalate. However, Mexican manufactured methamphetamine now dominates the market in the Dallas Field Division.
New Texas laws restricting the purchase of pseudoephedrine products went into effect in late 2005, resulting in a 73% decrease in clandestine lab seizures in the Dallas Field Division. Most of the Mexican manufactured methamphetamine transported to the region comes from Mexico, California, and Arizona through traditional means, such as passenger and commercial vehicles.
The availability of both Mexican methamphetamine and locally produced methamphetamine in the Houston Division is increasing. Mexican methamphetamine is the primary type found in the Division. It is transported in multi-pound quantities directly from Mexico or from Mexico via California. From Houston, methamphetamine is also distributed to the midwest and the east coast. In Houston, crystallized Methamphetamine (ICE) is being sold in local clubs and is also being offered by Mexican traffickers.
Domestically produced methamphetamine continues to be manufactured by motorcycle gangs and independent producers in small batches using pseudoephedrine, anhydrous ammonia, red phosphorous, iodine, lithium batteries, or muriatic acid. There are numerous labs operating in East Texas, Corpus Christi, and Austin. Most of these labs are small, mobile pseudoephedrine labs that produce small amounts for distribution in the local area.
Methamphetamine poses a multi-pronged threat in this region. It is available in multiple kilogram quantities. The majority of methamphetamine seized originates in Mexico, but arrives in New Mexico from distributors in Los Angeles, CA and Phoenix, AZ. Methamphetamine investigations are especially prevalent in the area known as the Four Corners Region where the States of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet to form a common border and along the eastern New Mexico/Texas border. Small, clandestine laboratories are popular in the area, especially in remote, rural locations in New Mexico. In Southern New Mexico, closer to Las Cruces and El Paso, the current preferred process is the “Birch method”, that uses chemicals, such as anhydrous ammonia, to process methamphetamine. Use of the “Birch method” is believed to be an attempt by small laboratory operators to acquire non-controlled chemicals for production, in order to subvert law enforcement scrutiny. Recent intelligence analysis indicates increased seizures of more “Mom and Pop” methamphetamine labs in the El Paso Division. It is cheaper to produce methamphetamine for your own use versus buying it on the street.