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.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

GUATEMALA / 13 APR 2015

Authorities in Mexico have captured the head of the Sinaloa Cartel's Central American operations, likely provoking even greater upheaval in…

MEXICO / 17 MAY 2012

Two Mexican generals, one of them a former deputy defense minister, have been arrested on suspicion of links to organized…

DRUG POLICY / 9 NOV 2012

The head of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s transition team stated that the move to legalize marijuana in two US states means…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

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…