Researcher Jose Luis Leon from the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico found that the trafficking of meth is a global industry.
The cartels first purchase precursor chemicals such as ephedrine and pseudophedrin from supplies in Asia. The two products are banned in Mexico and must be purchased abroad. After the chemicals are shipped to ports in Mexico and Guatemala, it is then transported to meth labs in Michoacan, Jalisco, Sonora and Sinaloa.
From the labs, the meth is smuggled across the border and sold in the United States.
The money generated from the US sales is then sent to China, where it is used to purchase additional drug precursors. Mexican drug cartels are also using the funds to purchase domestic appliances and other consumer goods and legally selling those products back in Mexico, thus successfully laundering the illicit revenue.
Source: Santiago Wills, “This Mexican Cartel Controls 80 Percent of the U.S. Meth Trade, Study Finds,” ABC News, April 2, 2013.