Drug traffickers find new way to smuggle meth

Author: Andy Cerota, Anchor/Reporter, acerota@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 22 2012 06:33:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 22 2012 06:37:41 PM CDT
Liquid meth
HOUSTON -

Methamphetamines aren't usually the kinds of drugs you think of being smuggled across the border, but Mexican drug traffickers are finding a new way to smuggle crystal meth into the U.S. and into your neighborhood.

Liquid meth has been disguised by hiding it in everything from tequila bottles to portable fuel containers.

It's the newest form of methamphetamine, and it's a lot harder to detect as its being smuggled across the border and into Houston-area neighborhoods.

Houston police narcotics officers said they caught Gerardo Tapia Lopez, a suspected Mexican drug cartel operative, with more than $700,000 worth of crystal meth during a traffic stop near the 12700 block of Ashford Point Drive in west Houston. A source told KPRC Local 2 that the drugs were smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico about two weeks ago, but in a different form -- liquid meth oil.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration said meth has become the cash cow for the Mexican drug cartels and smugglers south of the border.

"We found it in cars, various places -- wherever liquid can go in a car. We found it hidden in a car even in your gas tanks. Fake gas tanks, we've also had them in there also," said Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Anthony Scott.

Once it's trafficked into cities like Houston, the toxic liquid isn't refined in large, sophisticated drug labs, but in ordinary residential homes.

DEA agents said the process is nowhere near as dangerous as the illicit activity these drugs often attract. Liquid meth can be flammable, depending on what it's saturated with. Meth, whether it's liquid or not, is still extremely dangerous and highly addictive.

Lopez is being held in the Harris county jail without bond.