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Dramatic Drop In Tulsa Meth Labs Leads To Mexican Cartels Filling The Void

2.23.15 –Dylan GoforthThe Tulsa World

Last October, Tulsa Police Officer Albert Caballero was trailing a white Ford SUV when it suddenly pulled in front of another vehicle, cutting it off. Caballero pulled the vehicle over and found it occupied by two Hispanic men, both of whom said they were from Texas and were self-employed.

Caballero said in his report that the way the two men acted made him suspicious — Alejandro Charre talked so quietly he could barely be heard above the sounds of nearby traffic, and the driver, Juan Pablo Charre, had no identification and appeared to be very nervous.

A police drug dog was brought to the scene and reacted to the vehicle, leading officers to find $48,000 worth of methamphetamine in three packaged bricks.

The Charres were convicted last month in federal court of distributing meth, and while four pounds of the drug is not necessarily an earth-shaking amount, there’s something else to consider.

Just three years ago, meth cooked by Mexican cartels had no market in Tulsa — the product was too weak, and domestic meth cooks with a plastic soda bottle and some chemicals under their sink could make enough to get by until they needed another high.

But now that style of meth-making has wilted. Police recovered 70 labs in 2014, down from a high of 431 in 2011, a decrease of almost 84 percent. Oklahoma lawmakers have made procuring enough pseudoephedrine to cook with difficult, and law enforcers across the state are no longer cleaning up multiple shake-and-bake, or one-pot, meth labs every day.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Mexican cartels, sensing an opportunity, have filled the void with new, better meth.

Read more here.