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Sunday, December 21, 2014, 12:56 a.m.
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Meth pours into Central California as liquid

By The Associated Press

This article was published June 14, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.

FRESNO, Calif. — Authorities say drug traffickers are disguising methamphetamine as a liquid to smuggle it into the United States from Mexico.

It's sealed in tequila bottles or plastic detergent containers to fool border agents and traffic officers. Once deep inside California's Central Valley, a national distribution hub, meth cooks convert it into crystals — the most sought-after form on the street.

Mike Prado of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigation's Fresno unit says conversion labs are popping up in neighborhoods, as in the case of a lab that caused a house in Fresno to explode two years ago rattling neighbors' nerves.

Prado says these labs are dangerous because they're hidden away in densely populated apartment buildings and foreclosed homes in quiet neighborhoods where children play on the street.

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