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

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

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