HomeNewsBriefReport Shows Mexico's Growing Importance in Meth Trade
BRIEF

Report Shows Mexico's Growing Importance in Meth Trade

METHAMPHETAMINE / 3 MAR 2016 BY QUENTON KING AND DAVID GAGNE EN

A new report suggests Mexico's role in the production and trafficking of methamphetamine to the United States continues to grow, a reflection of how criminal groups throughout Latin America are diversifying their criminal portfolios to respond to market demands. 

According to a report (pdf) by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent body tasked with monitoring the United Nations drug accords, Mexican authorities seized over 19 tons of methamphetamine in 2014, a 34 percent increase from the previous year. Authorities also discovered 131 methamphetamine laboratories, most of which were located in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, and Sinaloa.

In addition, seizures of methamphetamine at the US border have "increased by a factor of three since 2009," the report states. In response, the smuggling methods of Mexican criminal groups are becoming more sophisticated in order to avoid detection. Methamphetamine is increasingly being diluted in a liquid solvent, making the drug harder to detect, according to the INCB.

InSight Crime Analysis

The INCB report underscores the adaptability and flexibility of criminal groups in Mexico to respond to shifts in consumer drug markets. Criminal groups have long relied on the production of illicit drugs such as cocaine and marijuana to supply the large and lucrative US consumer market. But cocaine consumption in the United States has fallen by as much as 50 percent, and the loosening of US marijuana laws is believed to be driving down demand for marijuana grown south of the border. 

SEE ALSO:  Mexico News and Profiles

In response to these changes, Mexican criminal groups have increased their role in the methamphetamine trade in recent years to offset some of the losses from declining cocaine usage in the United States. Drug trafficking groups have also shifted some cultivation over from marijuana to poppy crops in order to meet the surging US demand for heroin.

Meanwhile, there are signs that criminal groups in other parts of Latin America are taking advantage of the rise in synthetic drug consumption throughout much of the region. Last year authorities in Colombia busted what could be the first large-scale, international synthetic drug trafficking ring, even as synthetic drug production has grown in countries like Argentina and Guatemala. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

GULF CARTEL / 13 SEP 2011

Mexico recaptures the alleged chief financial officer of the Gulf Cartel, nine years after he escaped prison.

COLOMBIA / 9 DEC 2011

On the anniversary of the death of one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, analyst Alejandro Hope looks at…

BRAZIL / 19 JAN 2018

Record highs, all-time lows, and a few surprises -- 2017 proved a remarkable year in terms of homicide levels for…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…