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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EXTORTION / 7 MAR 2011

Two attacks by suspected organized criminal gangs on state oil workers in Mexico in recent days have left two dead…

JALISCO CARTEL / 11 JUL 2019

The brazen slaying of a trusted Sinaloa Cartel operative may look like just another symptom of rising violence along Mexico’s…

EXTORTION / 6 AUG 2014

The Familia Michoacana burned four Coca-Cola vehicles in the Pacific state of Guerrero after their bottling company refused to make…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

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4 FEB 2021

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THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…