The coronavirus pandemic is driving up the price of heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl as Mexican cartels scramble to get their hands on Chinese-manufactured chemicals now in short supply.
“The cartels are having a lot of difficulty producing drugs right now, and when the supply is low the price always goes up,” a US federal law enforcement source told The Post. “China has pretty much stopped production on the chemicals they need to do business.”
The pandemic has led to a shortage of workers at labs in China which produces more than 80 percent of precursor chemicals such as benzylfentanyl, norfentanyl and 4-anilinopiperidine used by the cartels to manufacture synthetic opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.
The bulk of the meth and synthetic opioids clandestinely produced in Mexico is controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel and its rival, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s latest National Drug Threat Assessment.
Most of the drugs are smuggled through the US southern border with Mexico, where authorities fear that the pandemic may result in a shortage of federal agents on both sides.
“It is the perfect avenue right now for cartels, with policing cut way back,” said the source.
Earlier this month, Customs and Border Patrol agents seized nearly 700 pounds of meth at the Arizona/Mexican border in Nogales — the largest seizure of the drug in the region’s history.
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