By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
It's surprising it took so long for the Mexicans to get involved. They already had smuggling routes for coke, pot and heroin, sometimes as middlemen and sometimes on their own. And the profit margin for the gangs is staggering.
Seizures of meth along the Mexican border concurrently soared from about 14 pounds in 1992 to 1,350 pounds in 1995. New Times spoke with Douglas residents who say they've smelled the stench of meth cooking right across the border in Agua Prieta.
Fass, 37, had passed himself off as a dealer willing to pay $167,000 for about 22 pounds of meth. But his Mexican suppliers tried to rob him of the money, which led to a shoot-out at a Glendale strip mall at 51st Avenue and Grand.
Three Mexicans were convicted of murder in the case. A fourth, the alleged mastermind of the plot, apparently fled the country. Two DEA agents work full-time to find him.
The Mexicans aren't just smuggling methamphetamine into the States, they're cooking it here as well, with chemicals smuggled across the border. U.S. agents seized just 14 pounds of raw ephedrine--its importation is tightly controlled in the States--at the border in 1992. In 1996, agents seized about 1,700 pounds of the substance.
This month, the feds arrested more than 100 people in California, Texas and North Carolina after a months-long investigation centered on the Mexican drug gangs. They also uncovered a large meth lab in downtown Los Angeles during the dragnet.
And in May, a Mohave County narcotics task force arrested 23 Mexicans after the unit uncovered a lab in a Lake Havasu City home. The lab was cooking almost six pounds of meth per week, capable of netting about $1 million a year.
Price Report. Excerpts from an August 1997 global drug price report site on the Internet:
Speed: USD $20/1U4 gram
$150 1U8 oz
Quality: B One gram good for a three day weekend
of nonstop action, depending on tolerance.
Notes: Best contacts for bulk are Sinaloan Cowboys
from Mexico, but these guys are scary. Very tight
group. Don't fuck with them.
1) Peanut Butter
Both USA $25/1U4 gram $100 1U16 oz.
Quality: 1) Long and Strong
2) Not worth its weight in dirt
Notes: Should get better now that the Hell's Angels
are in town.
USD $250 1U4 oz
Notes: It helps to know your friendly illegal Mex brother
working at the resorts. They're bringing in
USD $300 1U4 oz
Quality: B (what damn elves)
Notes: Big batch just in from Phoenix. Very clean
and strong. No ammonia. I can type 500 wpm now!
Even my mom slams this shit!
Summit County Ice
USD $950/ 1 oz
Quality A: Up for weeks w/very little amounts.
Availability: Make your own lab. We did, and so did
our friends! Ephedrine reduc. method is best.
Red P. widely available right now.
Built for Speed?
While meth (or any drug) is an inert substance that we cannot attribute blame to, by its nature it has raised the question, "Are we really built for speed?" It seems that the human body, while naturally resilient to much self-inflicted abuse, may not be a reliable container for the soul at high speeds. While methamphetamine may have the ability to chemically fuel the ride, physically it may just prove the limitations for human society.
--Todd C. Roberts, URB Magazine, October 1995
DeiDra Mounce wraps her month-old baby boy in a comforter, and rests him gently on a sofa next to her. Sitting inside the cluttered Scottsdale apartment she shares with her mother and stepfather, she can't stop yawning.
"Yeah, I'm tired," she says. "But it's for a different reason than it used to be. It's a good tired."
She pulls out her state identification card, which depicts a skinny girl with saucerlike eyes and a frozen smile.
"I was tweaking in that one," she says. "Look at those eyes. Scary. You can't see the big, dark circles under them. I was real pale. And I was a real bitch."
The card says DeiDra turned 18 on November 5. Two days later, she gave birth to Avery Austin. They're both lucky to be alive.
Before she became a legal adult, DeiDra was a methamphetamine dealer, miscarried twins, was expelled from school, ran away from home, got shot, did time in a juvenile detention center, and got pregnant again.
DeiDra says she hates what her meth habit did to her, and to those around her, especially her mother. But she is refreshingly open about the drug's allure.
"Being on meth, you can get stuff done if you keep after it," she says. "You can be with it, alert. You think you're going big places."
The only place meth took DeiDra, though, was down.
Her world wisdom belies her ninth-grade education. Her story, which juvenile officials confirm, defies the sharp-witted, healthy-looking young woman she is.
Born in Galveston, Texas, she moved to Scottsdale with her mother at the age of 10. By the time DeiDra turned 13, her mom was working nights, which allowed the new teenager more freedom than she could handle. She started ditching classes, smoking cigarettes and drinking.