The DEA said they are seeing more methamphetamine crossing our South Texas border.
Drug traffickers are using new and creative ways to smuggle the drugs across.
A DEA spokesperson explained that methamphetamine is smuggled across in different forms including powder, crystal, and liquid. The latter is becoming a more popular alternative because it’s easier to disguise.
Just last week, Customs and Border Protection discovered $27 million in liquid methamphetamine being smuggled through the Los Indios Port of Entry.
About 852 pounds of meth were extracted from the 18-wheeler's fuel tank, which held about 100 gallons.
The DEA said smuggling methamphetamine is in its highly concentrated liquid form is becoming more common.
“We have seen a trend going toward liquid meth because they are able to conceal it for smuggling methods. They are able to bring it across the border easier and they are able to contain it and hide it with a solvent base, which is harder to detect," explained Wendell Campbell, a DEA spokesperson and special agent.
He also told Action 4 News that drug traffickers typically use solvents like gasoline and acetone.
"Once it’s brought into the United States it has to be converted back to a crystal,” said Campbell, “They burn off the gasoline-it leaves the liquid crystal in the bowl."
Campbell explained that process of boiling off a solvent over an open flame is very dangerous and has a potential to cause flash fires. Unfortunately, he said it’s a risk that most smugglers are willing take.
"Drug trafficking organizations, the cartels, really lean toward moving meth in because it’s cheap to produce and has a really high profit margin. It’s easier to conceal than some drugs like marijuana," said Campbell.
Meth seizures are growing at an alarming rate. CBP seized nearly 3,698 pounds of meth during fiscal year 2014 from eight port-of-entries between Laredo and Brownsville, which is a 28% increase from 2013.
Campell said meth seizures are not only increasing along the border, it’s also trend that’s reflected in destination markets further north.
"We've seen a significant increase in seizures within the Houston division of upwards-approximately of 89% over this time last year," stated Campbell.
He explains it’s supply and demand..
Campbell also said that meth is being smuggled into the United States, the DEA is seeing meth drop in street value.
A pound of meth used to run about $12,000-15,000, but agents have seen in RGV as cheap as $7,000 a pound.