Publication Date: august 2002

Document ID: 2002-L0424-005

Archived on: July 1, 2009. This record may contain dated information. It remains available to provide accessibility to historic materials.

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This information bulletin gives an upgrade on the ease of access of, need for, production, transportation, and distribution of crystal methamphetamine.

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List of Tables

Table 1. Estimated U.S. Methamphetamine Prices, Powdered and also Crystal, June 2002
Cover picture Courtesy that DEA Gulf coast HIDTA.


High purity crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice or glass, is ending up being increasingly easily accessible in the unified States. Eastern criminal teams that traditionally dispersed crystal methamphetamine in Hawaii and on the West shore are currently distributing the drug in other areas of the nation as well. Moreover, Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and also criminal groups are coming to be increasingly connected in the production and also distribution of decision methamphetamine, according to the drug Enforcement management (DEA) and many state and local legislation enforcement officials.


Crystal methamphetamine is a colorless, odorless form of d-methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant. It resembles glass pieces or shining blue-white "rocks" of miscellaneous sizes. Street names because that the drug include batu, crystal, glass, hiropon, ice, shabu, shards, Tina, ventana, and vidrio. Decision methamphetamine and powdered methamphetamine both save on computer the same energetic chemical compound; however, decision methamphetamine frequently has a higher purity level and may create longer-lasting, an ext intense physiological effects. In small doses decision methamphetamine can heighten alertness, stimulate physics activity, and suppress appetite. Chronic abuse can cause psychotic and also violent actions characterized by intense paranoia, visual and also auditory hallucinations, and also out-of-control rages.

Crystal methamphetamine frequently is compared to cracked cocaine. The drugs produce comparable physiological effects, are highly addictive, and typically room smoked making use of a glass pipe. Crystal methamphetamine likewise may be injected. Immediately after smoking cigarettes or injecting crystal methamphetamine, abusers suffer a brief, extreme sensation, or rush, the is complied with by a high that might last 12 hours or more. Cracked cocaine abusers suffer the same effects for only 20 to 30 minutes. Tap the money symptoms associated with both decision methamphetamine and also crack cocaine incorporate drug cravings, paranoia, and also depression.

Crystal methamphetamine is developed using a "washing" an approach that entails dissolving powdered d-methamphetamine in a solvent such as acetone or denatured alcohol. The mixture is enabled to evaporate, leading to crystals to type around the edge of the container in which the is being mixed. Big crystals kind when the equipment evaporates at room temperature, and little crystals form when the systems evaporates in a cold environment such as a frozen refrigerator or freezer. The crystals then are built up and dried, frequently on a document towel. The purity that the finished product varies depending on the quantity of washing and also the activities operator"s level that experience.

threat of Explosion

Law enforcement personnel need to exercise excessive caution when opening refrigerators and freezers uncovered at crystal methamphetamine production sites. The vapors native the solvents provided to transform powdered methamphetamine to decision methamphetamine are extremely volatile and can accumulate in a frozen fridge or freezer during the evaporation process. These vapors might explode as soon as the appliance"s within light activates together the door is opened. Law enforcement personnel should immediately unplug all refrigerators and freezers found at decision methamphetamine laboratories to protect against this risk.

Source: main Valley California High Intensity drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

Crystal methamphetamine production and distribution traditionally have actually been associated with eastern criminal groups. These teams either produce the medicine in the United claims or smuggle it right into the nation from activities sites situated in countries such as China, the Philippines, south Korea, and Taiwan. Due to the fact that the mid-1990s mexican DTOs and criminal groups have gave powdered methamphetamine to oriental criminal teams in Hawaii and on the West coastline for conversion to decision methamphetamine. Mexican DTOs and also criminal teams now produce crystal methamphetamine in Mexico, California, and also southwestern states and use their developed transportation networks to distribute the medicine throughout the joined States.

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Crystal methamphetamine to be once accessible only in oriental American communitiesin Hawaii and also to a lesser level on the West Coast; however, the medicine is nowavailable in other communities and areas of the joined States. Legislation enforcementofficials attribute the increasing access of decision methamphetamine tothe joining of mexico DTOs and criminal teams in the manufacturing anddistribution the the drug, and also to increasing oriental criminal team activityin other areas of the country. Further, DEA reports that Mexican DTOs andcriminal teams are producing and also selling decision methamphetamine forsignificantly less than rival eastern criminal groups.

The purity of crystal methamphetamine typically is much higher than powdered methamphetamine, and crystal methamphetamine typically commands a greater price.Nationwide, the price of 1-pound amounts of crystal methamphetamine rangesfrom $10,000 come $30,000, compared with $3,500 come $20,000 for powderedmethamphetamine. The DEA Southwest laboratory reports that the purity ofpowdered methamphetamine samples native Arizona, California, and Nevada averages35 percent; however, the is not uncommon for the purity of crystalmethamphetamine samples come exceed 90 percent.

Table 1. Approximated U.S.Methamphetamine Prices, Powdered and also Crystal, June 2002QuantityPowderedCrystalPoundOunceGram

Source: DEA.

Arizona. According to the Peoria Police Department, the primary drugproblem in its jurisdiction is decision methamphetamine, recognized there as shards.Crystal methamphetamine sells for roughly $8,000 per lb in the Phoenixarea, which contains the city that Peoria. The DEA Phoenix department reports thatin that jurisdiction decision methamphetamine, well-known as glass in Phoenix,typically is produced by independent Caucasian producer who operate small-scalelaboratories that are capable of developing 1 ounce or less of the drug perproduction cycle.

California. Throughout the first quarter the FY2002, regulation enforcementauthorities dismantled 2 separate establishments distributing multipoundquantities the methamphetamine and also crystal methamphetamine in the san FranciscoBay Area. Many of the methamphetamine seized in those occurrences exceeded 95percent purity. In a separate event the san Francisco metropolitan TaskForce, through the aid of the san Francisco Police Department, seizedapproximately 3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with a purity that 98 percent.According come the DEA Western local Laboratory, the cleanliness and also purity ofthe methamphetamine seized had actually not been checked out for part time. The is unknownwhether the methamphetamine was domestic- or foreign-produced, although severaltraffickers in the only Area show up to have mastered the process of washingmethamphetamine to produce high purity crystal methamphetamine. Follow toDEA, 1 lb of crystal methamphetamine (known in the area as ice) marketed for$13,500 to $18,000 in the san Francisco area in the second quarter the FY2002.

MSM supplied as a cut Agent

MSM, the common commercial surname for the chemistry methylsulfonylmethane, alsois known as methylsulfone and also dimethylsulfone (DMSO2).

As a cut agent for methamphetamine, MSM offers numerous advantages. Pure MSMis one odorless, white, crystalline powder the is extremely soluble and mixesreadily with many substances there is no leaving a residue. MSM generally is added tomethamphetamine throughout the final stages the production. Methamphetamine reduced withMSM often appears to be uncut due to the fact that after the chemicals are merged and themixture cools, the MSM recrystallizes, resembling pure methamphetamine.

MSM distributors case the problem is useful as a pains reliever and also foranimal and also human connective organization regeneration. Other alleged services for bothanimals and humans include the palliation of inhalant allergen reactions; relieffrom the symptoms of lung dysfunction; relief of foot and ago cramps, musclespasms, and also general soreness; improved all at once health; and elevated mood. MSM isreadily obtainable in flour and tablet computer forms in ~ livestock feed and also equine tackstores, "super" pet food chains, warehouse stores, human being nutritioncenters, and also upscale grocery store stores. MSM is available through mail order equineand veterinary supply catalogs and on numerous Internet sites.

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According come the DEA Oakland residents Office, the majority of methamphetamineinvestigations in that is jurisdiction involve decision methamphetamine. In thesecond 4 minutes 1 of FY2002, there were two large crystal methamphetamine seizuresin the Oakland area. In one event DEA agents seized around 3 pounds ofcrystal methamphetamine and also 1 pound of MSM, which was being provided as a cuttingagent. In a separate incident the Oakland police seized about 2 poundsof crystal methamphetamine at a Hayward home. In that event an estimated$50,000 precious of the drug was dispersed on a weekly basis. Follow to lawenforcement resources in southern Alameda County, Filipino and other AsianAmerican traffickers are affiliated in the production and sale the crystalmethamphetamine in your jurisdictions.

According come the central Valley HIDTA, decision methamphetamine production andabuse show up to be increasing in the middle valley. Filipino and Hawaiian drugtraffickers space the primary groups responsible because that methamphetamine manufacturing inthe central Valley (San Joaquin) region. According to the main Valley HIDTA,in November 2001 a complete of 7.5 pounds of decision methamphetamine was seized inthe area roughly Hanford in majesties County. Throughout 2001 the main Valley HIDTAtask forces seized three crystal methamphetamine laboratories in the southernvalley. In 2001 decision methamphetamine marketed for $12,000 to $15,000 per pound.According come the HIDTA, as a marketing ploy food coloring occasionally is addedduring the crystallization process, transforming the methamphetamine black;"black ice" is supposedly an ext potent.

The DEA Los Angeles department reports that decision methamphetamine is readilyavailable in the Los Angeles area, and access is concentratedpredominately in Riverside and also San Bernardino Counties. Spain criminal groupsand gangs continue to emerge as the dominant crystal methamphetaminedistributors in the jurisdiction. These teams sell high purity crystalmethamphetamine for significantly less than rival asian groups. DEA reports thatthe Los Angeles area is the resource of supply for the bulk of crystalmethamphetamine distributed in Hawaii. ~ above October 11, 2001, agents native the DEALos Angeles department seized 7 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in valve Nuys. Thedrugs were surprise in 7 1-pound bags in a water cooler. Top top December 4,2001, 499 grams were seized in southern Gate. On respectable 8, 2002, DEA announced thatmore than 57 individuals in southerly California to be arrested in connection witha 2-year examination involving the production and distribution ofmethamphetamine, distribution of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, knownas ecstasy), and drug money laundering. Throughout the course of the investigation,over 33 pounds the methamphetamine, 8 pounds of decision methamphetamine, 196gallons the methamphetamine oil, and also 100 pounds the pseudo-ephedrine to be seized,as were weapons, currency, vehicles, and 30,000 MDMA tablets.

The Santa Ana Police room reports the Mexican criminal teams dominatethe methamphetamine market in the city that Santa Ana and also sell both powdered andcrystal methamphetamine. In this area high purity decision methamphetamine, knownas ice, sells because that $10,000 to $13,000 every pound. Medium purity crystalmethamphetamine, well-known as glass, sells for $5,000 to $8,000 per pound and also isreported to be the many popular form of methamphetamine dispersed in the city;it is smuggled into the area indigenous Mexico.

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Colorado. DEA and also numerous state and also local job forces and policedepartments report the the access of crystal methamphetamine (known asglass) has increased transparent Colorado. Crystal methamphetamine selling forapproximately 40 percent an ext than powdered methamphetamine in Colorado, and ithas become the type of methamphetamine the is most popular with abusers.

Florida. Follow to the DEA Miami Division, ~ above November 27, 2001,agents seized 1 kilogram of crystal methamphetamine the was delivered to aresidence by a package distribution service. The agents arrested 3 individualsand seized 28 MDMA tablets and 8 vials of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate). Accordingto DEA, some members that the homosexual ar in fort Lauderdale use crystalmethamphetamine extensively.

Georgia. According to the DEA Atlanta Division, there has actually been a largeincrease in the it is provided of crystal methamphetamine obtainable in Atlanta. Clubs indowntown Atlanta space a focal allude for the abuse of crystal methamphetamine. Onesample of crystal methamphetamine tested 99.7 percent pure. In February 2002 theOklahoma Highway Patrol seized 42 pounds of methamphetamine destined forAtlanta. One lb of the seized methamphetamine to be tested and also found to becrystal methamphetamine.

Hawaii. In Hawaii, unlike other states, decision methamphetamine is thedrug of choice and is more commonly abused 보다 powdered methamphetamine.Crystal methamphetamine switch laboratories are an ext prevalent thanproduction laboratories. Mexico criminal teams have replaced classic Asiancriminal groups as the major transporters and also wholesale distributors ofcrystal methamphetamine in Hawaii. In the early on 1990s regulation enforcementauthorities in Hawaii dismantled several large Asian, mainly Korean, criminalgroups that overcame the transport of decision methamphetamine into Hawaiifrom Asia. Eastern criminal groups continue to transport and distribute somecrystal methamphetamine in Hawaii, yet to a lesser extent.

Currently many of the decision methamphetamine obtainable in Hawaii istransported into the state already in decision form. Mexico criminal groupstransport crystal methamphetamine from the West Coast, primarily California, aswell as from Mexico. To a lesser extent, that is transported from eastern sourcesvia couriers on advertising aircraft. Decision methamphetamine likewise is created inHawaii. Powdered methamphetamine is processed through "conversion" orwash laboratories where it is treated v acetone to produce crystalmethamphetamine. This laboratories are found predominantly ~ above the island ofOahu, yet some have been seized ~ above the outer islands. According to 2000 datafrom procedure Jetway--a nationwide interdiction routine that operates atairports, train stations, bus stations, package shipment facilities, postoffices, and airport hotels and motels--in Hawaii there were eight seizures ofcrystal methamphetamine totaling slightly more than 11 kilograms. Follow tothe Hawaii HIDTA Airport task Force, much more than 21 kilograms of crystalmethamphetamine were seized at the Honolulu worldwide Airport native July 1999through June 2000. Follow to DEA, decision methamphetamine sold for $30,000 inthe first quarter of FY2002, return inflated prices on the island of Hawaiireached $45,000 come $70,000 per pound.

Illinois. The Chicago HIDTA reports that oriental criminal groups nowdistribute crystal methamphetamine in the Chicago area. Decision methamphetamineis derived from sources of it is provided in Asia and smuggled by couriers aboardcommercial airlines into the area. Asian criminal groups also obtain powderedmethamphetamine from criminal groups composed of mexico nationals situated onthe West Coast, transform the powder right into crystal methamphetamine, and also thendistribute that in the Chicago area.

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Kansas. The DEA Kansas City ar Office reports the Mexicannationals are affiliated in the distribution of decision methamphetamine in thearea. Regulation enforcement investigations have actually revealed ties come methamphetaminelaboratories operated by mexican nationals in Phoenix, Arizona, and Riverside,California. Follow to DEA, decision methamphetamine sells for $18,000 perpound in the Kansas City area.

Mississippi. Follow to the DEA new Orleans Division, newly obtainedinformation suggests that decision methamphetamine is being sold in Hinds,Copiah, and also Forrest Counties in Mississippi. Crystal methamphetamine onlyrecently has come to be common in Mississippi. It likely is gift transported fromsources in California, Texas, and also Tennessee by private vehicle.

An oz of crystal methamphetamine through a purity level the 97 percent wasseized in Jackson. The Mississippi office of medicine reported that the crystalmethamphetamine (known there together ice) had been created in California or Texas.The Mississippi office of Narcotics also has encountered decision methamphetaminein northeastern Mississippi.

Missouri. Increasingly, reports have been received that crystalmethamphetamine is being spread in Kansas City (MO). The MetroMethamphetamine medicine Task force in Kansas City reported the a 16-year-oldCaucasian female was uncovered unconscious in a Kansas City motel room native anoverdose of crystal methamphetamine.

Nebraska. Follow to the Omaha Police Department and also the WesternIntelligence Narcotics group (WING) medicine Task pressure in Scottsbluff, in July 2002two seizures of crystal methamphetamine were made in Omaha and also Hemingford. Inone the the seizures the crystal methamphetamine, i beg your pardon resembled shards ofglass, had been mailed indigenous Phoenix, Arizona. In Nebraska crystalmethamphetamine is recognized as ice.

Nevada. The DEA ras Vegas district Office reports that crystalmethamphetamine is accessible in the jurisdiction in limited quantities, butdemand for the medicine is increasing. Mexico criminal teams transport the crystalmethamphetamine from southern California, generally Los Angeles, into Nevada.These criminal groups likewise distribute the drug in the state. In ras Vegascrystal methamphetamine sells because that $10,000 come $12,000 every pound and $1,000 to$1,500 per ounce.

New Mexico. Follow to the FY2003 Southwest Border HIDTA report, someinternational DTOs operation in new Mexico have production cell in Mexico thatproduce methamphetamine; however, the capability of these laboratories havenot been plainly reported. The HIDTA additionally reports that a six-member criminalgroup in new Mexico obtains crystal methamphetamine from California anddistributes it in gram quantities. The Lea County drug Task pressure in Hobbs, NewMexico, reports the officers have actually encountered decision methamphetamine native LosAngeles, California, in that jurisdiction. One lb of crystal methamphetaminein Lea ar sells for $16,000--more than double the price because that powderedmethamphetamine. However, in Lincoln County, narcotics officers report thatcrystal methamphetamine (locally known as ice) is frequently available for saleat nearly the same price together powdered methamphetamine.

South Dakota. The southern Dakota department of Criminal examination DrugTask pressure reports the Mexican criminal groups are currently distributing crystalmethamphetamine in the state. Previously, methamphetamine was accessible only inits powdered type and was gave by mexico criminal groups and also localindependent producers.

According to the south Dakota division of Criminal examination Drug TaskForce, decision methamphetamine remains available in southern Dakota. A seizure ofcrystal methamphetamine to be made in fast City in October 2001. Mexicannationals residents in fast City were carrying the decision methamphetaminefrom Salt Lake City, Utah, to rapid City, wherein it was being marketed for $300 pereight round (one-eighth ounce).

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Texas. Follow to the DEA Houston Division, crystal methamphetamine isbeing offered in nightclubs in Houston and also is abused by Asians and also AfricanAmericans. During a vehicle stop in Montgomery county (north of Houston) on May13, 2002, officers from the Montgomery county Special examination Unit and theTexas room of Public security Narcotics department seized 122.9 grams ofcrystal methamphetamine--one-half of which was covert in a hollowed-outcandle. The individuals connected were Caucasian males in your twenties.Officers from the Austin Police Department additionally report the the ease of access ofcrystal methamphetamine has recently raised in their jurisdiction, and also theybelieve the medicine is being produced locally. In July 2002 the Austin PoliceDepartment seized a crystal methamphetamine activities that to be being operatedby one 18 year old.

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Wisconsin. The Douglas County job Force very first identified theavailability of decision methamphetamine in January 2002. Mexican and Asiancriminal teams are the primary sources that supply because that the drug, i beg your pardon is nowreadily easily accessible in the area. In this area crystal methamphetamine typically issold in little retail quantities; however, one-half oz to 1-ounce quantitieshave to be seized. The drug usually sells for twice the price of powderedmethamphetamine.