Photo: Chemicals Used for Drugs
Authorities seized 120 tons of a chemical used to produce synthetic drugs in Lazaro Cardenas, a port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, where the substance arrived from China, a multi-agency task force said.
The seizure of monomethylene was made during a joint operation staged by the Attorney General’s Office, the navy and the SAT tax agency in Lazaro Cardenas, which is in Michoacan state.
“The containers came from the Port of Shanghai, China, and had a final destination of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala,” the agencies said.
More than 1,300 tons of drug precursors have been confiscated this year by customs officials.
The shipment was turned over to the AG’s office, which is handling the investigation.
Last Friday, 229 tons of chemical precursors used to produce illegal drugs were seized in Lazaro Cardenas.
Mexico’s biggest-ever seizure of drug precursor chemicals was the confiscation of 839 tons in July at a warehouse in the central city of Queretaro, a bust that topped the previous record of 200 tons of precursors discovered last year at the port of Manzanillo.
Mexico, which produces most of the crystal meth consumed in the United States, has imposed tight restrictions on the import of chemicals used to make illegal synthetic drugs.
Due to pressure from the security forces, some Mexican drug cartels have increased the production of synthetic drugs in Guatemala, analysts say.
Mexico’s drug cartels are the main suppliers of illegal stimulants to the U.S. market.
The U.S. drug market has seen declining demand for cocaine and a simultaneous rise in demand for synthetic drugs, officials and analysts say.
Synthetic drugs are favored by users for their more prolonged effect and because they come in tablet form and are therefore considered “socially cleaner.”