Meth seizures in Arizona have more than tripled over the last six years. Seizures increased nearly 380 percent at ports of entry between 2012 and 2018. Border Patrol saw a 180 percent increase in that same time span. DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman explained why production of the drug has shifted largely to Mexico. It dates back to the early 2000s when the U.S. restricted access to pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter drug found in cold medicine that was commonly used to make meth.
"It shrunk the market for clandestine laboratories here in Arizona," Coleman said. "But it pushed all the major meth manufacturing down to Mexico, because Mexico doesn't have the same regulations in place."
Mexico has since restricted access to pseudoephedrine, according to Coleman. But drug cartels responded by changing their methods for manufacturing meth.