Weaver said Mexican drug cartels have been a major source of meth and other drugs in the state since the mid-1990s. Local meth cooks get lots of attention from law enforcement because of the fires, explosions and chemical contamination that are the by-products of their craft.
“The domestic production has collateral effects that are worse than the quantity,” Weaver said. “These one-pot methods are not producing these large quantities of meth. I would suspect the vast majority of methamphetamine is coming out of Mexico.”
Cartels use a variety of methods to move their product across the border. Much of it is hidden in vehicles crossing the border each day. The cartels expect to lose up to 10 to 15 percent of their product to seizures by law enforcement.
“The methods they use to smuggle these drugs into Oklahoma are really only limited by your imagination,” Weaver said. “They saturate so many vehicles that eventually it is going to find its way across.”
Low-level smugglers, often called mules, move most of the drugs. They often are paid a few thousand dollars per shipment and assume nearly all of the risk associated with moving the drugs.
Busting a ring that was distributing such large amounts of meth is particularly satisfying for law enforcement, Weaver said.
“This is an organization that was distributing to Oklahomans,” he said. “That to me is very relevant. They weren't moving this stuff through Oklahoma to Chicago or Detroit. This was going into our neighborhoods.”