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Mexican army scores world record meth seizure

The Americas Post - Fifteen tons is a lot of methamphetamine

A record seizure of 15 tons of pure methamphetamine in western Mexico indicates that nation could soon be the world leader in meth production.

The scale of the capture announced Wednesday in Jalisco can only mean the Sinaloa cartel, a major international trafficker of cocaine and marijuana, has moved into wholesale meth manufacturing.

According to army Gen. Gilberto Hernandez Andreu, the highly dangerous drug was ready for packaging. It was almost certainly destined for the United States, the world’s largest market for meth and other illicit drugs. This shipment, worth over $4 billion on U.S. streets, could have provided 13 million doses.

A senior U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico said the operation raided in Jalisco was “probably Sinaloa.” The official, who remained anonymous for his own safety, said the Sinaloa Cartel could be attempting “to reduce its reliance on Colombian cocaine by flooding the market with meth.”

Reporters saw barrels of white and yellow powder filling three rooms on a small ranch outside Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city. Metal containers and kettles used in the production process were scattered around the house. Although the equipment appeared jury-rigged and dismantled in a tour for reporters, it appears to have served its purpose.
Approximately 12 to 15 people appear to have worked there, but no arrests were made.

After several anonymous tips, Mexican troops found the huge drug haul in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, near the Jalisco state capital Guadalajara. An army statement said “the historic seizure (is) the most important in terms of quantity of methamphetamines (seized) at one time.”

In December, Mexican authorities captured 675 tons of a key precursor chemical, methylamine, that can yield its weight in uncut meth. Officials in Guatemala, meanwhile, seized 7,847 barrels of precursors in 2011, equivalent to about 1,600 tons.

Between 2007 and 2009, seizures of methamphetamine by U.S. authorities along the Mexican border increased by 87 percent, according to the 2011 U.N. World Drug Report, the most recent statistics the U.N. has available. The National Drug Intelligence Center reports that eighty percent of the meth captured entering the U.S. is seized at the Mexican border.