HomeNewsBriefGuatemala Puzzles Over Disposal of 2,800 Barrels of Precursor Chemicals

Guatemala Puzzles Over Disposal of 2,800 Barrels of Precursor Chemicals


Guatemalan anti-drug authorities face a bottleneck in the Pacific port city of Quetzal, where their success in seizing drug precursor chemicals means there is no space to store any more, reports La Prensa Grafica.

The newspaper reports that since the beginning of 2011, authorities in the port have confiscated 28 shipping containers, each holding between 80 and 110 barrels of chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, ecstasy, and other synthetic drugs. Each container is valued at approximately 2.5 million quetzales (over $300,000).

The police’s success in seizing illegal shipments of precursors has led to a problem for Guatemalan authorities, who must decide how to dispose of the volatile chemicals safely.

La Prensa Grafica quotes Quetzal’s Public Security Ministry as saying that their forces lack even the most basic equipment required to handle the seized chemicals, and there is no room at the port for additional confiscated shipments.

Attempts by the government to contract with laboratories specializing in toxic waste removal, or to sell the chemicals to private companies for industrial use, have failed, according to the report.

Mexico, which shares a border with Guatemala, has an increasingly important role in the methamphetamine market, producing much of the drug that is consumed in the U.S. This is due in large part to tighter restrictions of precursor chemicals imported into the U.S.

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


Over the last eight months, US officials have seized more illicit fentanyl at Arizona’s ports of entry than anywhere else…


Today, most of the marijuana consumed in the United States is produced domestically, changing the game in the international drug…

COLOMBIA / 22 DEC 2022

InSight Crime's GameChangers 2022 looks back at the most consequential criminal stories across Latin America this year.

About InSight Crime


InSight Crime Contributes Expertise Across the Board 

22 SEP 2023

This week InSight Crime investigators Sara García and María Fernanda Ramírez led a discussion of the challenges posed by Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” plan within urban contexts. The…


InSight Crime Cited in New Colombia Drug Policy Plan

15 SEP 2023

InSight Crime’s work on emerging coca cultivation in Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela was cited in the Colombian government’s…


InSight Crime Discusses Honduran Women's Prison Investigation

8 SEP 2023

Investigators Victoria Dittmar and María Fernanda Ramírez discussed InSight Crime’s recent investigation of a massacre in Honduras’ only women’s prison in a Twitter Spaces event on…


Human Trafficking Investigation Published in Leading Mexican Newspaper

1 SEP 2023

Leading Mexican media outlet El Universal featured our most recent investigation, “The Geography of Human Trafficking on the US-Mexico Border,” on the front page of its August 30…


InSight Crime's Coverage of Ecuador Leads International Debate

25 AUG 2023

This week, Jeremy McDermott, co-director of InSight Crime, was interviewed by La Sexta, a Spanish television channel, about the situation of extreme violence and insecurity in Ecuador…