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Mexican Traffickers Flood Washington Meth Market After Local Crackdown

Posted on May 23, 2006 by in Hometown, News, Washington

Associated Press – May 2006

meth_004Washington state has succeeded in shutting down most of its illicit homegrown methamphetamine labs, but Mexican drug cartels have swiftly moved to fill demand for the drug, the Associated Press reported May 20.

Washington law-enforcement officials say that seizures of local meth labs dropped by more than half last year after a law was passed to restrict access to precursor chemicals that can be used to create homemade meth.

But now, Mexican drug cartels are shipping purer, more potent meth to the state; 75 percent of the meth sold in Washington is estimated to come from Mexico, up from about 50 percent in 2001. “As we have controlled our domestic problem, our importation problem has increased exponentially,” said Washington State Patrol Detective Sgt. Gary Gasseling.

Oklahoma, which also sought to control local supplies of meth chemicals through legislation, has experienced similar trends.

Washington has seen a steady increase in people seeking treatment for methamphetamine addiction despite the crackdown on local manufacturers. “The addicts are still addicted, and the traffickers are simply stepping in to meet the demand,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “We need to meet with the addiction issue as well as the crime issue.”