Poor economy got you down? Well, you can always just cook up some crystal meth. Reality is stranger than fiction, and that trend continues with the news that North Korea is manufacturing crystal meth in industrial facilities. This isn't your garden variety crystal meth either, according to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. US officials have verified that the meth, which landed in the US cities of New York and Boston, tests at 96-98% purity. That's a benchmark even the characters on Breaking Bad would consider impressive.
North Korea is no stranger to resorting to illegal activities to cover budgetary shortfalls. Kim Jong-un inherited this illicit lineage from his forefathers, who began dabbling in international crime in the 1970's. During the 1990's a famine engulfed the reclusive country, and over a million people died. During the famine North Korea turned their attention to growing opium, instead of the staples that might have saved innumerable lives. The rationale was that opium could generate far more money for the beleaguered regime, which at the time had just began a round of tough sanctions.
The transition to crystal meth began as the popularity of the drug increased in the international market in the 2000's . North Korean crystal meth has been found in China, Japan, and the US. The drugs are distributed through organized crime syndicates, but apparently North Korean officials have no issue with delivering the goods themselves. Several of their ambassadors have been expelled from host countries due to smuggling activities.