Liquid meth bust a first-of-its-kind for Austin police

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- A new and emerging drug threat from Mexico is making its way into Austin, and area law enforcement are concerned about what they're finding. Working on a tip, the Austin Police Department said they arrested two suspects and seized nearly 10 gallons of liquid methamphetamine stored inside a car on Tuesday. Police said the methamphetamine -- which was already in the process of recrystallizing -- was found in a false compartment in the fuel tank.

"Once that liquid is turned back into crystal, it had an approximate weight of 64 pounds with a street value between $2.75 to $3 million," said APD Lt. Frank Dixon.

Dixon said the suspect car was stopped along Interstate 35, but they believe the suspects were headed to a destination in the Austin area. For Austin police, this discovery was the first time they've come across crystal methamphetamine in liquid form.

According to Greg Thrash with the Drug Enforcement Agency, liquid meth became more prevalent around 2011 when dealers realized it was easier to transport

"The consumer of meth likes the meth to be in glass shards when they buy it, but when the drugs are transported, they break apart and get too small, so they started shipping in liquid form," said Thrash. "It's shipped in liquid form, and they recrystallize it once it gets to the destination."

Police said this week's bust is something that might become more common.

"So far this year, the numbers continue to grow, only because the chemicals to make the precursor to meth are easy to obtain overseas, specifically from China," explained Dixon. "That stuff is coming into the cartels in Mexico, and they're able to mass-produce it."

Recently, Williamson County Sheriff's Office pulled over a car that had 15 gallons of liquid meth hidden in the same manner. While meth usage has increased, the cost of meth has actually seen a decrease in the past year, according to the DEA.

The two suspects will be charged in federal court with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. Their names have not been released at this time.

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