United States

A $61 billion trade. Record-breaking busts. Rock-bottom prices. The meth crisis is spiraling out of control

(CNN)Deep in the jungle in Thailand's northern Chiang Mai province, a unit of armed border officers were on duty late last month when they stumbled on a cave stuffed with drugs. The stash was huge. Inside were more than 5 million methamphetamine pills -- known locally as yaba or "madness drug" -- and 145 kilograms (about 320 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine wrapped in large plastic bags. Even by conservative estimates, the haul was worth tens of millions of dollars, according to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It was the biggest stash Police Lt. Col. Dilok Arinpeng, who commands the unit, said he had ever seen -- and, incredibly, he found it unguarded. But these types of record-breaking busts have become the new n ...