Travel ban leads to less meth on the streets, increased prices

RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. – COVID-19 is affecting businesses both legal and illegal.

Local detectives said travel bans and the decreased movement of people between national borders has lead to less methamphetamine availability on the streets driving up prices as demand remains the same.

Drug busts are looking a little different now than they did six months ago, according to Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force deputy director Tod Young.

“With the closing on non-essential travel even between states and between the U.S. and Mexico, we’ve seen a decrease in supply, the demand is still here,” said Young.

According to local law enforcement, meth prices have doubled on the streets since the pandemic began. Some narcotics officers are concerned that the decrease in cartel meth coming into the country could lead to an increase in meth labs which places lives at risk for anyone near the labs including police officers who have to dismantle them.

Thursday night during drug bust with the South-Central Kentucky Drug Task Force, a law enforcement agent whose identity is being withheld because he works undercover, said the meth being confiscated now is being diluted with other substances because the drug’s availability has decreased.

“A lot of the methamphetamine that we are getting is cut with substances that are not methamphetamine. So, we’ll purchase usually and eight ball, which is about 3.5 grams, about two of those grams are cut substances, I.E. sodium or we’ve seen a lot of hoof-hardener that they try to mix in to cut with it to make it look like more meth than it is because it’s becoming so scarce,” said the agent.

The reason is the supply chain has been severely interrupted.

Many of the raw materials come from China or Mexico where the meth is often manufactured and then brought into the United States.

But with border closures and travel restrictions, the supply has dropped significantly.

And South-Central Kentucky is a major trafficking area, partially because of Interstate 65.

Two people were arrested on trafficking methamphetamine charges during Thursday night’s search warrant execution.

This change has impacted law enforcement as well as they are finding smaller amounts of methamphetamine on average per drug arrest.