Arizona Just Made Its Largest Meth Bust Ever, and It May Be a Signal From Mexico’s Most Powerful Cartels

BORDERLAND BEAT — US Customs and Border Protection agents at a border crossing in Nogales, Arizona,seized 387 pounds of methamphetamine on February 5, the largest meth seizure in the crossing’s history.

A tractor-trailer hauling bell peppers that was attempting to cross at the Mariposa Commercial Facility was stopped, and CBP agents pulled 400 packages of meth worth $1.1 million out of the trailer’s front wall and rear doors.

The driver, Juan Rodolfo Lugo-Urias, was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations agents.

But the location and size of the bust indicate that he may have been just one part of the operation.

While fragmentation among Mexican cartels in recent years has made it easier for upstart traffickers to enter the trade, 387 pounds is a lot of meth, and it’s more than likely that this was an operation run by an established cartel.

The location of Lugo’s capture raises the possibility of two organizations: the Sinaloa cartel and the Beltran-Leyva Organization. And it may be a signal that neither of those organizations has faded from the scene, despite recent setbacks.

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