Fentanyl seized at a laboratory in Sinaloa. Fentanyl seized at a laboratory in Culiacán.

Record seizure of 118 kg of fentanyl in Sinaloa; laboratory shut down

Estimated value of the opioid was nearly 1 billion pesos

Mexico has made its largest seizure ever of pure fentanyl and simultaneously arrested an important Sinaloa Cartel leader, the Ministry of Defense (Sedena) announced on Thursday.

The bust seized 118 kilograms of fentanyl worth nearly 1 billion pesos (US $50 million). It occurred October 28 in Culiacán, Sinaloa, but was not confirmed by the government until November 5. The army, National Guard and personnel from the federal Attorney General’s Office also arrested Armando “El Inge” Bátiz Camarena, a prominent leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, and four collaborators, all without firing a shot, the government said.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, 50 times stronger than heroin, and has been a leading cause of death by overdose in the United States opioid crisis.

In addition to the fentanyl, authorities seized four bags of fentanyl paste precursor; two kilograms of Inositol, a substance used to cut illegal drugs; five firearms and ammo; two vehicles; US $14,660; tens of thousands of pesos and a small amount of Venezuelan bolivars. The facility included five buildings, including a laboratory and a distribution center. Authorities estimated that the arrested individuals produced up to 70 million fentanyl pills a month.

The bust is the second blow to the Sinaloa Cartel in a matter of weeks: on October 23, Francisco “El Jaguar” Arvizu Márquez, another Sinaloa Cartel cell leader, was arrested in Madera, Chihuahua, after a shootout with the military.

Seizures of fentanyl have been on the rise in the past year, Sedena announced in October. From the beginning of the year to September 21, 2021, the government seized 1,225 kilograms, a 16.5% increase over the same period in 2020.

Mexico News Daily

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