By Jen Kastner
PERMIAN BASIN- The Midland-based Drug Enforcement Administration tells NewsWest 9 that methamphetamine-related cases have recently increased and the numbers are significant.
Agent Dante Sorianello has been operating the Midland office for the past five years.
"In the last eight to nine months, the majority of our significant investigations that have occurred here in the Permian Basin are related to methamphetamine trafficking," Sorianello said.
Agent Sorianello adds that a year or two years ago, only around 10% of their trafficking cases were related to methamphetamine. Now, it's more than 70%.
Population growth in West Texas is likely to blame. Demand is being met by a significant supply, most of which, based on consistency and purity levels, seems to come out of Mexico.
"It is high-quality methamphetamine that is manufactured in semi-sophisticated laboratories," Sorianello said.
The increase in cases is forcing the DEA to make changes to their operations.
"Investigative methods, to a certain degree, may be changing. [However], I really can't go into that but we're just aggressively pursuing our leads and the evidence that we uncover," Sorianello said.
The DEA reports that current local distributors tend to be affiliated with white gangs, like the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, and Hispanic gangs, like the Mexican Mafia.