The prices for illicit drugs are shooting up as the coronavirus pandemic affects cartels in Mexico.
The prices of heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl have increased as drug traffickers struggle to get precursor chemicals from laboratories in China, where the outbreak first began late last year.
There have been worker shortages at the labs that produce substances such as benzylfentanyl, norfentanyl, and 4-anilinopiperidine, which are used to make heroin and fentanyl. A federal law enforcement source told the New York Post that as the volume of drugs decreases, prices increase.
“The cartels are having a lot of difficulty producing drugs right now, and when the supply is low, the price always goes up,” the source said. “China has pretty much stopped production on the chemicals they need to do business.”
Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are the two criminal enterprises competing for the methamphetamine and synthetic opioid markets. There are fears that the virus outbreak will provide the groups with an easier time bringing drugs into the U.S. because of reduced numbers of border agents.
“It is the perfect avenue right now for cartels, with policing cut way back,” the law enforcement source said.
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