Mexican Drug Dealers Focus on Heroin, Meth Following Pot Legalization Trend

A soldier walks through the ten hectares of marijuana plantation after the Mexican army found it, while patrolling the area in Mocorito, in Sinaloa State, Mexico February 4, 2017. (Image via Reuters)

Growing marijuana for Mexican drug producers to smuggle is no longer a profitable business as the legalization trend happening in the United States has pushed prices into a downward spiral.

In an interview with Business Insider published in August, a Mexican farmer in the country’s Sinaloa state said the value of marijuana had fallen from about $74 a kilo in 2010 to a little over $26 now.

Sinaloa is located in an area called the Golden Triangle, known for its huge drug production.

Growing and selling marijuana was always lucrative for Mexican pot traffickers as they have benefited from low production costs and high demand in the US. 

But the legalization trend is changing what is happening on the ground.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at border crossings intercepted 522,614 pounds of marijuana in 2012, which mushroomed to a high of 602,795 pounds in 2015. Now the figure is at 338,676 pounds in 2017, according to data compiled by the Albuquerque Journal.

And if we are comparing the figure between border crossings from 2012 to 2017, the gap is huge. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the amount of marijuana seized between border crossings declined from 2.3 million pounds in 2012 to 861,231 in 2017.

pink - Mexican Drug Dealers Focus on Heroin, Meth Following Pot Legalization Trend
A protester shows a fake marijuana leaf during a march for the legalisation of marijuana in Mexico City May 5, 2012. (Reuters)

Meth on the Rise

At the same time, the Albuquerque Journal reported that the amount of meth seized between border crossings rose from 3,715 pounds in 2012 to 10,328 pounds in 2017.

As for Heroin, the story is slightly different.

Heroin seizures at border crossings have decreased from 5,530 pounds in 2015 to 3,626 pounds in 2017, which was about the same amount seized in 2012. However, the amount of heroin seized between border crossings has risen slightly but is still below 1,000 pounds a year.

Arturo Fontes, a former FBI agent, and expert on Mexico’s drug cartels told the Albuquerque Journal:

“The more you legalize marijuana, the more other drugs matter and become more profitable.”

He added: “And right now nothing matters more than meth, heroin.”

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