Rising methamphetamine production point to gaps in the precursor control system in Mexico.

The number of methamphetamine laboratories dismantled by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has fallen from 12,049 in 2013 to 9,306 in 2014. Yet, because the levels of meth consumption are believed to have remained stable the agency believes that production has shifted across the border to Mexico. One of the reasons for this, according to the agency, is the availability of chemicals used phenylacetone, an organic compound banned in the US but accessible in Mexico. Consequently, Mexican cartels have been producing a ‘purer’ form of meth and increased their market share in the US.

The trend underlines the need for closer international cooperation in precursor control as tight restrictions in one country can have a displacement effect. The work of PRELAC has contributed to building an infrastructure for the sharing of information between control agencies across Latin America and the Caribbean. More work is required to ensure that gaps in control systems do not open opportunities for organized crime groups shifting production to new locations.