HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Meth Labs Highlight Growing Production Role

Guatemala Meth Labs Highlight Growing Production Role


Authorities in Guatemala have discovered two methamphetamine laboratories within the past month, pointing to the Central American country's increasing part in feeding the growing synthetic drug market in Latin America and the United States. 

Firefighters who arrived at a burning house in the southern department of Escuintla detected the residence was likely used as a drug laboratory, reported Siglo21. Authorities later seized several barrels of still unidentified synthetic drugs as well as equipment used to produce methamphetamine.

In late January, Guatemalan police seized 30,000 pounds of precursor chemicals at a meth lab in the western city of San Marcos near the Mexican border. Once processed, authorities reported the synthetic drugs were sent to Mexico by sea.

InSight Crime Analysis

A cooperation measure established in 2014 saw Guatemala begin sharing intelligence information with Belize, Honduras and El Salvador in order to combat the trafficking of precursor chemicals and production of synthetic drugs. These two recent meth lab discoveries are the latest indication Guatemala is an important point of production for synthetic drugs in the region.

thriving trade in precursor chemicals smuggled in from Asia, weak state controls, and its proximity to Mexico have made Guatemala an attractive base of operations for Mexican drug trafficking groups producing methamphetamine. In 2014, authorities discovered a meth lab in the southeastern province of Santa Rosa likely linked to the Sinaloa Cartel that they estimated produced three tons of the synthetic drug per month. 

SEE ALSO: Guatemala News and Profiles

Despite efforts to combat the activity, Mexican cartels are likely looking to ramp up methamphetamine production in Guatemala given the surge in consumption of the synthetic drug in the United States in recent years. In addition, diminishing markets for cocaine and the legalization of marijuana in several US states is incentivizing cartels to focus on smuggling alternative drugs like methamphetamine and heroin into the United States. The increasing number of meth labs in Guatemala and other parts of Central America also points to a growing market for synthetic drugs in Latin America.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


Guatemalan authorities arrested an alleged member of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel who is suspected of working with one of the…

COLOMBIA / 13 APR 2020

Women’s participation in organized crime groups is not uniform. The diverse roles that women play in criminal economies allow us…


Politicians in Argentina have demanded that prosecutors investigate claims there is a drug trafficking "free zone" in a province near…

About InSight Crime


Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…


InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…


InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.


Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…


Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

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.