LAREDO — More methamphetamine is being smuggled into the United States, and much of the illegal drug is coming across the across the Texas-Mexico border, hidden in cars or taped to bodies.
The biggest spike in smuggling can be found in South Texas.
"A good 80 percent of the seizures involving narcotics here in the passenger environment, passenger vehicles, deal mostly with methamphetamine," explained Customs and Border Enforcement spokesman Phil Barrera.
Along the stretch of border from the Rio Grande Valley to Del Rio, agents seized a record 2,200 pounds of meth last year — a 100 percent increase.
"They're really pushing it, for whatever reason," Barrera said.
When it comes to meth, Mexican cartels have a clear advantage:
- well-established smuggling routes on the border
- access to chemicals
- access to superlabs
But the big question is: Will the cartels push even more meth if more U.S. states decriminalize the use of marijuana, Mexico's biggest illegal cash crop?
As it turns out, Mexico's biggest cartel is also the leading meth producer.
"It's being smuggled in from south of the border," said Angelica Becerra of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
Her agency is also starting to see more meth in the outlying areas. "Compared to last year, it's been a huge jump," Becerra said.
Authorities up and down the border may see another record-setting year when it comes to meth from Mexico.