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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Methamphetamine Labs & Meth Lab Explosions - Meth Project

One reason to avoid street drugs is  that everything has blood on it.  Maybe not directly but a drug addict in NY city is likely to be using drugs grown or manufactured  in poorer countries like Mexico, Columbia,Thailand, Cambodia or Afghanistan.  The list is long and always involves poor people out of desperation and being exploited by Drug Lords to manufacture, transport and sell the products.  Turf wars and murders are a common part of getting the drugs to the end consumer.  

One Official in the Canadian Military was quoted saying he could predict when the Afghanistan poppy crop has been processed in Pakistan and other countries and was arriving on Canadian streets.  

We are at war along with the United States to defend the rights of these people against the Taliban.  

Meantime, a thriving business continues growing poppies for the drug trade.  

The Taliban earns money from this trade by guaranteeing safe passage to the poppy residue through the mountains to Pakistan.  Insurance policies like those offered by the Mafia

Over Heating  Ammonium nitrate makes it an explosive compound and that happens easily when your chemist is inexperienced is the reason given by the Meth Project speaker.  This was in just one case he was describing.  

The Meth Project created by the states of Idaho and Montana is a very complete source with answers for all your questions.  Like does someone in my apartment building have a meth operation?  What signs to look for to avoid living near such a dangerous and volatile activity. There is a news section where they post the latest news about drug traffickers:


Mexican Drug Gangs Using More Children As 'Mules'

Associated Press, March 14, 2012

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Luis Alberto is only 14 but has the wizened gaze of a grown-up hardened by life. He never met his father, worked as a child, was hired by a gang to sell drugs and then got addicted to them.

In October he checked into Cirad, a rehab center west of this border city that handles about 500 drug addicts at a time, a fifth of them younger than 17.

"They brought me here because I was using and selling 'criloco,'" Luis Alberto said, referring to methamphetamine, the drug of choice for 90 percent of adolescents in detox because of its low cost and easy availability. 
   Luis Alberto is just one of an increasing number of young people being used as "mules" to ferry drugs across the border into the U.S. or sell them in nearby Mexican towns, said Victor Clark, an anthropologist who studies drug trafficking.

"Minors are cheap labor and expendable for organized crime in an area where there are few job opportunities or places for recreation, and where the distribution and consumption of drugs have grown fast," Clark said. 

Mexican authorities say they are aware of the problem, but there are no official figures on the number of adolescents detained for selling or distributing drugs because the law forbids keeping criminal records for minors. 

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that between 2008 and 2011, the number of youths aged 14 to 18 caught trying to cross the border between Tijuana and San Diego to sell drugs has grown tenfold

Most of them were high school students who carried drugs, usually methamphetamine or cocaine, hidden in their bodies or in their cars, Mack said.

Clark said similar things are being seen all along the border, at Mexican cities like Nogales, Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa. "It's growing at a worrying pace," he said. 

Officials at drug rehab centers across Tijuana estimate that of the approximately 500 adolescents now undergoing treatment, about a tenth of them are like Luis Alberto, not only addicted to a drug but also used by cartels to sell it. 

Luis Alberto, whose last name cannot be published because he is a minor, said he started selling drugs about two years ago in a neighborhood of east Tijuana along with other minors who were hired by "a boss."

He made about 200 pesos ($16) a day, which he says he spent on food and drugs. 

"Between me and my friends we sold about 40 packets a day. My boss kept 1,100 pesos (about $88) per packet and the rest was for us. Sometimes there were about three or four packets left over and we just divided them among ourselves," he said. Do the math and you see the Boss keeps $3520 a day from his child laborers work and risk taking.

Mexico's cartels have also employed children for their hit squads. 

In what may be the most shocking case involving a youth in Mexico's drug war, a 14-year-old boy born in San Diego and known only as "El Ponchis" was arrested in December 2010 in central Mexico and told reporters he had been kidnapped at age 11 and forced to work for a cartel. He said he participated in at least four beheadings. 

Serrano said that on average 70 adolescents come to his center each month with addiction problems, and about a tenth of them have also worked in the drug trade. 

According to the National Survey on Addictions, Tijuana has Mexico's worst methamphetamine addiction problem. The Tijuana Psychiatric Institute says it has about 22,000 meth addicts. 

Tijuana was one of the first cities to which Calderon sent troops to fight the cartels five years ago, yet hundreds of kilos of drugs still arrive each week for local consumption or for sale in other cities, military and police officials said. 

 How Big is the Problem in money terms? Take just one seizure of the drug:

Feb. 9, 2012: Mexican authorities announced their largest Meth seizure ever: 15 tons—about 13 million doses worth $4 billion.  (That's billions of dollars not just millions.)

The amount of money involved in these drug transactions allows the Cartels to outspend the government in thew War they are waging with Calderon.  Just seeing how he promised to clean up Tijuana and what actually happened are stark examples of the financial motivation of the Cartels and the ruthless methods employed to keep control of the drug business and to defend their money makers - marijuana, cocaine and meth amphetamine.

Next explanation is from:
Quora connects you to everything you want to know about.

Why do meth labs explode?

What processes cause meth labs to explode and how?  What chemicals are responsible for these explosions and why?

2 Answers

Meth labs explode because they contain relatively large quantities of volatile, unsafe chemicals that are often poorly handled.

During the extraction of component chemicals from starting supplies and during the production of the meth itself there are several points where flammable substances are produced, some of which react very poorly with exposure to air or direct heat.

Combine that high level of volatility with most cooks' low level of training in chemistry and the poor condition of their equipment and you've got a recipe for dangerous reactions.

To make things worse there are some (generally short-lived) cooks who will smoke cigarettes near their kitchens and/or be high while cooking.
Not understanding the real dangers involved they don't respect the chemicals or their equipment, and take a pretty lackadaisical attitude toward their craft. This creates plenty of opportunity for terrible accidents.

 Chemical Details:

  According to this list of chemicals [1] found in meth labs, the explosions may be caused by:
  • Red phosphorus: May explode as a result of contact or friction. Ignites if heated above 260°C.
  • Hypophosphorous acid: Extremely dangerous substitute for red phosphorus. If overheated, deadly phosphine gas is released. Poses a serious fire and explosion hazard.
  • Lithium metal: Extremely caustic to all body tissues. Reacts violently with water and poses a fire or explosion hazard.
Secondary explosions would probably be caused by acetone and ethyl alcohol, as well as propane tanks.

[1] U.S. Justice Department: Meth Lab Fast Facts leaflet: http://www.justice.gov/ndic/pubs...