Marines seized 50 tonnes of methamphetamine Thursday from a clandestine drug lab located in the mountains near Culiacán, Sinaloa, the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) said yesterday.
The seized drugs have an estimated value of US $5 billion, in accordance with illicit drug price data from the United States Department of Justice.
Semar said in a statement that marines raided a lab located about 30 kilometers from the state capital near the small town of Alcoyonqui.
They dismantled the lab and two underground storage facilities where the meth, in both liquid and solid form, was found inside drums and plastic containers.
Precursor chemicals and other materials and equipment for the manufacture of methamphetamine were also seized.
The drugs and chemicals were incinerated on site due to the difficult access to the location, Semar said.
The seizure is one of the biggest synthetic drug busts ever made in Mexico and the largest single confiscation of meth in Sinaloa.
Semar said the seizure would weaken criminal organizations and avoid a large quantity of methamphetamine from reaching both domestic and international markets.
The navy secretariat released video footage and photographs yesterday showing marines in hazmat suits examining the seized products.
Intelligence reports indicated that large quantities of drugs were being produced in the Alcoyonqui area, leading marines to the lab’s location. The operation was supported by both land and air units of the navy.
Local media said the land where the drugs were found is controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel, while the newspaper El Diario reported that the drugs likely belonged to Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the cartel’s suspected leader.
Mexico is a major supplier of methamphetamine and heroin to the United States.
Mexican and U.S. law enforcement authorities announced new security strategies this week including the creation of a joint investigative team that will target the leaders and finances of Mexican cartels that ship drugs into the United States.
The former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is currently incarcerated in the United States and will face trial later this year.
Source: El Diario (sp)