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Mexican cartels replace home-cooked meth

PENDLETON, Oregon – Oregon passed a law in 2006 that requires a prescription for any products containing pseudoephedrine. The law quickly cut down on the number of home-based methamphetamine labs operating in the state. On several occasions, Umatilla County led the nation with its high number of those labs.

Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said another group moved in to fill the void after home cookers stopped cooking.

“It created a market for a much purer form, the ice or crystal methamphetamine, which is produced in the super-labs out of Mexico,” Roberts said. “It’s a high-dollar criminal enterprise primarily controlled by the cartels.”

Roberts said that detectives for the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team don’t have to look hard to find connections south of the border.

“Based on the cases that we’re working through BENT and their collaboration with other task forces around the nation, the stuff is coming right out of Mexico daily,” Roberts said. “Pretty much every drug trafficking organization that we’ve identified has a nexus back to Mexico.”

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