Monday, June 24, 2024

11 Chinese nationals arrested in nightclub raid in Mexico City

Mexico City authorities have announced that 11 Chinese nationals were arrested at a property in the center of the capital that apparently operated as both a drug den and a clandestine nightclub and brothel.

The Ministry of Citizens Security (SSC) said in a statement on Saturday that police detained eight men and three women and seized over “800 doses of apparent drugs” during a raid on the property. The Chinese nationals were turned over to the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office.

Mexico City Security Minister Pablo Vázquez Camacho said on the X social media platform that those detained are “presumably linked to drug trafficking crimes and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.”

He shared an image of the 11 people detained as well as photos of the confiscated drugs and the interior of the building that was raided.

The raid, which was carried out in the early hours of Saturday morning, came after authorities received reports that illicit drugs were “possibly” being sold at the property and that it was being used for “purposes of sexual exploitation,” the SSC said.

The ministry said that police found “private rooms where services for the purpose of sexual exploitation were possibly carried out.”

Photo of drugs confiscated by police in a Mexico City arrest
The police reported confiscating over 800 doses of drugs including cocaine and crystal meth at the establishment. (Pablo Vázquez Camacho/X)

It said that officers also found “seven laboratory tests, which apparently were demanded of women” who worked as prostitutes, presumably to ensure that they didn’t have any sexually transmitted diseases.

The SSC said that police seized 810 doses of “apparent cocaine” and 10 doses of “possible crystal meth” in the building, four floors of which were shut down.

The Reforma newspaper reported that a “clandestine nightclub” was operating on the top four stories of a building on San Jerónimo street, located less than a kilometer from Mexico City’s central square, the Zócalo.

The property had a sign in Chinese on its facade that read “Sky and Land Club” and the Chinese operators of the apparent nightspot only admitted Chinese clientele, Reforma said. The news website Infobae described the club as a clandestine casino where Chinese nationals gambled.

“These kinds of establishments are usually linked to criminal activities like money laundering, tax evasion and even criminal organizations,” Infobae said.

Chinese groups are “becoming more involved in drug trafficking and money laundering in Mexico,” according to the introduction to a 2022 interview between Latin America analyst Nathaniel Parish Flannery and Brookings Institution senior fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown.

Precursor chemicals used to manufacture synthetic drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine in Mexico enter the country from China at Pacific coast ports, according to Mexican and U.S. authorities.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias and Reforma 

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