Attempts to prohibit the drug have caused a cottage industry to scale up
Mar 24th 2012 | MEXICO CITY
STORMING a ranch south of the city of Guadalajara, Mexican soldiers last month made one of the biggest drug busts in history. They found 15 tonnes of the banned stimulant methamphetamine, which in America retails for more than $100 per gram, seven tonnes of chemicals used to make it, and a laboratory. The manufacturers had fled.
This was the latest sign that meth, once primarily a home-cooked drug, has become a mass-produced one. Unlike cocaine and heroin, imported from the limited regions where coca and poppy are cultivated, meth can be made anywhere. In most countries the ingredients, principally ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, can be bought as medicine for colds. Cooking them is dangerous. But meth is so addictive that the risk of blowing off your hands is little deterrent: in 2010 the authorities discovered 6,768 makeshift labs in America.