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Mexican Drug Cartels Fill the Meth Lab Void in Franklin County

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — As efforts to reduce the number of meth labs in the St. Louis area continue to pay off, but another source is moving in to supply the addicts. That source is from Mexican drug cartels.

They’re making meth in “superlabs” and using already established marijuana and cocaine pipelines to ship it into the United States.

“These are sophisticated, high-tech operations in Mexico that are operating with extreme precision,” said Jim Shroba, a DEA agent in St. Louis. “They’re moving it out the door as fast as they can manufacture it.”

Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Jason Grellner tells KMOX that it’s such a ‘target rich environment …the cartels don’t have to force their way into the market.

“As meth labs go down and people are unable to manufacture the amount of Methamphetamine they need the Mexican cartels are merely coming in and filling a void,” said Grellner.

“We haven’t treated the addiction base. Individuals are still going to be addicted to the drug and so they’re going to buy what they can get, and that will be the Mexican Methamphetamine.”

Grellner says that while in some cities 80 percent of the meth is Mexican-made, because of the large number of labs still operating in this region it makes up less than 50 percent of the local meth market.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration the Mexican meth is as much as 90 percent pure, a level that offers users a faster, more intense and longer-lasting high.

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