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Mexican Meth Production on Rise

United Press International, November 26, 2006

Successful U.S. efforts to control the sale of chemicals used to produce methamphetamine has led to a mushrooming production of the drug in Mexico.

Drug traffickers, some of them ex-convicts and fugitives from the United States, resurfaced in Mexico because they can get pseudoephedrine and other chemicals needed to produce methamphetamine much more easily, the Los Angeles Times said Sunday. Authorities said they believe chemicals are shipped from factories in China and India via Hong Kong.

Production labs sprang up from Baja ranches to the Michoacan highlands to Guadalajara's industrial parks, where authorities earlier this year raided the largest laboratory discovered in the Americas.

It was the mother lode of mother lodes, a U.S. law enforcement official said at the time.

Mexican drug traffickers control about 80 percent of the methamphetamine sold in the United states, authorities said. They also reported a jump in methamphetamine seizures at the U.S.-Mexico border from 2003 through 2005, increasing from 4,030 to 6,063 pounds.

Mexican authorities said the number of labs they found increased from 13 to 37 from 2002 to 2005 and methamphetamine seizures have more than doubled, to 2,169 pounds, during the same period, the Times reported.