There have been many reports on the prevalence of methamphetamines in North Korea. For some background, I would recommend this really good report by Isaac Stone Fish. For many years, North Korea’s government has been suspected of state-sponsored production of the drug. After reported government attempts to crackdown on its production, it is alleged that production has moved out of state control, fueling trafficking at the border as well as consumption back home.
This issue has surfaced again recently, with reports that drug traffickers have been busted trying to import meth produced in North Korea into the US. I recommend this surprisingly good report in the Washington Post on this story. The report seems to reinforce reports on the loss of state control in drug production:
One of the defendants, Ye Tiong Tan Lim, 53, from China, bragged that his Hong Kong-based criminal group was the only organization that was able to produce meth in North Korea because of a crackdown there on the drug trade, according to a criminal indictment filed in federal court.
Lim told the DEA source that the North Korean government “already burned all the labs. Only our labs are not closed. . . . To show Americans that they are not selling it anymore, they burned it,” Lim said.
The drug trade is a national security concern that crosses borders. While there are few issues that the US and North Korea can see eye-to-eye on, cracking down on drugs trafficking might be one of the things that both countries should consider working together on. Maybe even China can be roped in…