Australia flooded by North American-produced meth

North American-produced meth, from countries such as Mexico, United States and Canada, made up 16.7 tonnes of the meth seized.

The AFP can reveal that methamphetamine manufactured in North America has surpassed Southeast Asian countries as Australia’s largest supplier of the illicit drug, with Mexican cartels increasingly targeting Australia.

In the 2022-2023 financial year, the AFP and its foreign law enforcement partners seized more than 23.6 tonnes of North American-produced methamphetamine bound for the Australian market, including 4.36 tonnes of methamphetamine seized in Australia and 19.33 tonnes seized offshore.

Image: North American produced meth seizures (Source: CANVA)

AFP Commander Jared Taggart said methamphetamine was the second most consumed drug in Australia, with Australians consuming an estimated 10.5 tonnes per year.*

“Australia is an enticing market for organised crime groups who exploit our people to derive large profits. The AFP estimates that since 2021, our seizures of Southeast Asian-produced methamphetamine in Australia has decreased notably, accounting for less than 15 per cent of total methamphetamine seized in 2023.”

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Commander Taggart added that factors which may have contributed to Australia being a target country for North American-produced methamphetamine include cheaper wholesale prices, a preference by transnational serious and organised crime (TSOC) for Mexican cartels’ complex concealment capabilities, and Operation Ironside’s degradation of key TSOC syndicates’ domestic and global operations.

Commander Taggart said:

“Additionally, the AFP and our global partners have arrested and prosecuted key members of a significant Asian organised crime syndicates in October 2020 and January 2021. The AFP has a presence in 33 countries and works closely and collaboratively with our Southeast Asian and North American law enforcement partners to disrupt methamphetamine trafficking at the source. We will continue to disrupt the criminal environment both onshore and offshore to ensure life-threatening drugs are not entering the Australian community.”

North American-produced meth, from countries such as Mexico, United States and Canada, made up 16.7 tonnes of the meth seized.

Image: North American produced meth seizures (Source: CANVA)

The AFP estimates at least 70 per cent of Australia’s methamphetamine market is now supplied by North American production sources.

New AFP intelligence indicates wholesale methamphetamine is sold for as low as $1000 AUD per kilogram in Mexico City, Mexico compared to an average $3-5000 AUD per kilogram in Yangon, Myanmar, making it a cheaper alternative for organised crime groups.

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