Back on March 13th I wrote:
I'm hearing interesting things from [my law enforcement friends] about the supply of illegal drugs in our major metropolitan areas. Basically, that supply is being cut off at the knees by the slowdown in world trade. I hadn't realized how much the drug trade was dependent upon Chinese chemicals and precursor materials to process coca leaves into cocaine, or to make methamphetamine or heroin. Also, apparently most of the synthetic marijuana (a.k.a. "spice") on the market comes from China, or is made with ingredients supplied from there.
This is apparently resulting in a severe shortage of illegal narcotics on the street in many cities.
There are more details at the link.
Now, Vice reports:
Disruptions to global supply chains due to the spread of the coronavirus is hampering production of methamphetamine and fentanyl by Mexico’s cartels, according to VICE sources.
Sinaloa cartel operatives in Mexico told VICE this week that importing the chemical precursors they need to make methamphetamine and illicit fentanyl has become harder and more complicated, which is creating a shortage and pushing up prices.
“Now we are all struggling to get the chemicals to Sinaloa from China,” one drug trafficker told VICE from Culiacán, Sinaloa. Production of methamphetamine and fentanyl is still happening, he said, but at lower rates than usual.
“We haven't stopped producing, but the price of meth is getting pushed up because of the scarcity of chemicals from China….transporting them this far is also getting much more expensive,” the cartel operative said.
China has historically been the main supplier of precursor chemicals and illicitly manufactured fentanyl to Mexico’s cartels. Much of this has been supplied in bulk in cargo rather than via the postal system. The chemicals are often mislabeled to conceal what they are, and shipped to major ports in Mexico such as Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacán and Mazatlán in Sinaloa. Some of the substances are not controlled, such as ammonium chloride and formaldehyde, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), making them easier to source through legitimate companies in China to legitimate or front companies in Mexico.
Again, more at the link.
It's good to have independent confirmation that my law enforcement sources were telling it like it is. I often hear things from them a week or more ahead of any mention in the news media, because cops and agents are much closer to events "at the bleeding edge" of crime than are journalists. I'll have to send beer money to my buddies as a "Thank you!" gesture for keeping me ahead of the game.