Federal drug agent Jeffrey Scott says the public has it wrong if they think the meth threat has disappeared because there is no news of "trailers catching fire or hotel rooms exploding." Meth remains a growth industry with heavy demand across the country, federal officials tell Scripps-Howard News Service. Meth has evolved from an illegal drug made mostly in rural labs to a business increasingly run by Mexican drug cartels through a sophisticated urban distribution system infiltrating most major U.S. cities. Now 80 percent of the meth on U.S. streets comes is smuggled over the U.S.-Mexican border dissolved in water, windshield wiper fluid or beer or hiding in fruit, or other produce, says the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Southwest border seizures of meth totaled 7,338 kilograms in 2011, more than twice the amount seized in 2009. "We've seen a big uptick in seizures of methamphetamine," says John Horn, first assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Georgia. "It has supplanted coke as the main drug imported in the last year — both in liquid form, where they take it to processing labs, and also 'dirty' meth or brown meth that they wash and make into ice," a clear, rock-like form of the drug.