Mexico's Role in the Deadly Rise of Fentanyl

FENTANYL / 19 FEB 2019

This investigative series looks at the role that Mexico and its cartels have played in making the lethal opioid fentanyl a growing threat in the United States. While China accounts for the overwhelming majority of fentanyl production, Mexican gangs have also become key links in this chain, transporting, selling, and even producing the drug. Here we examine the rise of fentanyl, from production facilities in China and Mexico, to the potential role of the Sinaloa Cartel and numerous subcontractors.

Chapter 1

Fentanyl: Summary and Major Findings

DRUG POLICY / 12 FEB 2019

Since surging into the market in 2013, fentanyl has become the most lethal category of opioid in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that…

Chapter 2

Fentanyl Case Shows China's Scary Ability to Adapt

CHINA AND CRIME / 12 FEB 2019

In October 2017, two Chinese men—Xiaobing Yan and Jian Zhang—were indicted for conspiring to manufacture and distribute “large quantities” of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in the United States. Although they…

Chapter 3

A Sinaloa Connection in Buffalo, New York?

DRUG POLICY / 13 FEB 2019

The sea cucumber arrived. Then more arrived. Then more. It was a lot, investigators noted—too much for that northwestern corner of New York state. The shipments were, US prosecutors would…

Chapter 4

Bulgarian Biochemist in Mexico Gives Glimpse of the Future

DRUG POLICY / 14 FEB 2019

In January 2018, US authorities began following a Bulgarian biochemist named Antov Petrov Kulkin who they believed was running a small carfentanil/fentanyl laboratory in Mexico. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has…

Chapter 5

End of Heroin is Bad News for US Fentanyl Hotbeds

DRUG POLICY / 15 FEB 2019

On October 22, 2018, authorities pulled over a Dominican national identifying himself as Angel Javier Morell-Oneill as he drove in Methuen, Massachusetts. They had been investigating him since June 2018,…

Chapter 6

The Fentanyl Trade Through Mexico, Explained in 8 Graphs

FENTANYL / 19 FEB 2019

Fentanyl use is booming in the United States. With support from the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, InSight Crime mapped the distribution chain, and the role of Mexico's…

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About InSight Crime

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At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

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