Meth pours into Central California as liquid
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) In methamphetamine’s seedy underworld, traffickers are disguising the drug as a liquid to smuggle it into the United States from Mexico.
Dissolved in a solution, it’s sealed in tequila bottles or plastic detergent containers to fool border agents and traffic officers. Once deep in California’s Central Valley, a national distribution hub, meth cooks convert it into crystals the most sought-after form on the street.
Tough policing has driven the highly toxic super-labs south of the border where meth is manufactured outside the sight of U.S. law enforcement, but the smaller conversion labs are popping up domestically in neighborhoods, such as one in Fresno where a house exploded two years ago.
People inside the home had sealed it tightly so the tale-tell fumes didn’t give them away.
“These guys, they don’t have Ph.D.s in chemistry,” said Sgt. Matt Alexander of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re focused on not getting caught.”
Investigators say it’s impossible to know how much liquid meth crosses the border, but agents in Central California say they have been seeing more of it in the past few years.
In this March 2014 photo provided by PARC Environmental, Jeff Davis, a hazardous materials specialist for PARC Environmental, cleans up a meth conversion lab inside a house in Madera, Calif. Authorities in California’s Central Valley say that in recent years they have begun to see more meth dissolved as liquid and put into tequila bottles or plastic detergent containers to smuggle it across the border from Mexico. Once in the Central Valley, it is converted into crystals, it’s most sought-after form on the street. In the seedy underworld of methamphetamine, traffickers have turned to disguising the drug as a liquid to boost chances of smuggling it into the United States from Mexico without getting caught.