HomeNewsBriefMexico Seizes 136 Tons of Meth Precursors
BRIEF

Mexico Seizes 136 Tons of Meth Precursors

METHAMPHETAMINE / 14 MAY 2012 BY CHRISTOPHER LOOFT EN

Officials in Mexico seized another 136 tons of precursor chemicals originating from China, pointing to that country's role as a major source for methamphetamine ingredients and highlighting the prevalence of methamphetamine production in the region.

The shipment of phenylacetate and monomethylamine, packed into 1,748 barrels, was seized at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan. The barrels were divided among seven containers on a ship from China with its final destination in Honduras.

Officials from the Attorney General's office have launched an investigation to determine who was behind the shipment.

InSight Crime Analysis

This incident follows the last week's seizure of 36 tons of precursor chemicals in the port of Veracruz. In both cases, the shipments originated in China.

It is still uncertain whether the chemicals were bound for labs in Mexico, Honduras, or both. One thing appears clear, however: The seizures of methamphetamine in Mexico and Central America are skyrocketing.

Guatemala, for example, saw a 400 percent increase in seizures of precursor chemicals from 2010 to 2011. The rise was so extreme that one storage facility reportedly ran out of space in October 2011. At least 200 tons of the chemicals seized there had arrived on ships leaving the Lazaro Cardenas port in Michoacan.

Some of this increase likely resulted from heightened enforcement as authorities catch up to the rise of methamphetamine production in the region; or increased friction between those who control this illicit traffic, as the groups inform on one another's merchandise. Traffickers are increasingly relying on local laboratories to traffic their own meth into the United States, where both the purity and availability of the drug has risen sharply.

Governments face major difficulties in cutting down on meth production due to the versatility of the industry: when one country cracks down on its meth labs, others step in to fill the gap. For example, a 2006 US law limiting the availability of pseudoephedrine products led to a decrease in US meth production, but its high demand led Mexican traffickers to compensate. As a result, while authorities in Mexico broke up 22 meth labs in 2007, by 2011 that number had risen to 206, according to a report by MSNBC.

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.

DONATE

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.

DONATE

Related Content

GAMECHANGERS / 13 JAN 2017

The drug world in the Americas is undergoing seismic shifts with changing patterns of drug production and consumption that are…

DRUG POLICY / 11 JAN 2013

The incoming Mexican ambassador to Washington called for renewed debate on drug prohibition and on gun control…

MEXICO / 19 JUL 2012

Three federal police officers were killed during a shootout in Mexico City’s international airport, but while the event was disturbing,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…