Some 100 tons of chemical precursors used to produce illegal drugs that arrived from China and were bound for Guatemala were seized in the Mexican Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas, officials said.
The chemicals, which came from Shanghai, were bound for Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, the Navy Secretariat, Attorney General’s Office and SAT tax agency said in a joint statement.
The precursors were hidden in 480 tons of plastic and included 99,700 kilos of monomethylene, a chemical that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant.
The AG’s office took possession of the chemicals, which are being guarded by the 10th Naval Zone in Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in the western state of Michoacan.
On Dec. 8, customs agents seized 205 tons of chemicals that arrived from China in Lazaro Cardenas and were also bound for Puerto Quetzal.
The seizure earlier this month was one of the largest ever made in Mexico.
Mexico’s biggest-ever seizure of drug precursor chemicals was the confiscation of 839 tons in July at a warehouse in the central city of Queretaro, a bust that topped the previous record of 200 tons of precursors discovered last year at the port of Manzanillo.
Mexico, which produces most of the crystal meth consumed in the United States, has imposed tight restrictions on the import of chemicals used to make illegal synthetic drugs.
The administration of President Felipe Calderon, who militarized the struggle against violent drug cartels after taking office in late 2006, has seized some 2,000 tons of drug precursor chemicals this year.
The U.S. drug market has seen declining demand for cocaine and a simultaneous rise in demand for synthetic drugs, officials and analysts say.
Synthetic drugs are favored by users for their more prolonged effect and because they come in tablet form and are therefore considered “socially cleaner.”