The Mexican Army conducted counternarcotics operations in far southern Zacatecas state last week discovering and dismantling a total of seven drug laboratories, according to Mexican news accounts and an anonymous correspondent.
According to a news account which appeared on the website of Zacatecas En Linea news daily, an army unit with the Mexican 53rd Infantry Battalion, 11th Military Zone was dispatched two weeks ago to Nochistlan municipality on an anonymous complaint of criminal activity in the area.
At the location, soldiers secured 10 containers with an undisclosed amount of chemical precursors used in the production of methamphetamine. Also secured were an undisclosed number of rifles and ammunition.
According to the anonymous correspondent, "militars arrested one or two local policemen for lacking the proper gun permit and acting suspiciously."
"I know the local policemen work for the local narcos, when I was last in Nochistlan, they were very friendly with the two guys who I was told were the jefes de plaza (local crime bosses), two fat brothers dressed like cholos. I had no idea this area was a meth factory."
Four days later, another three drug labs were secured along with several real properties said to be owned by a local drug lord affiliated with the Sinaloa Drug cartel.
According to a news account published on the website of Zacatecas En Linea, the home of the unidentified suspect was located near the intersection of Privada Quintas de Los Sauces and Calle Cerro Picacho. Another property seized included a ranch near the village of La Cofradía.
According to the news report, two labs were found on land named La Barranca Tierra Blanca, while the third was found near the village of El Porvenir. A fourth lab was found but was still under construction.
The land where the drug lab near El Porvenir was found, was also a farm with about 25 head of cattle. According to the report, the land was used to host music concerts bimonthly.
The total property seized was about 4,000 square meters and had been purchased privately last May.
The news account quoted military sources saying the drug labs combined capacity was about 60,000 liters per month, amounting to about one metric ton of drugs.
The news account said the drugs were produced mostly at night and produced toxic fumes, which local residents noticed.
Drug produced in these labs were said to be distributed in Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Jalisco states.
A sixth lab was discovered in Apulco municipality. It was a long time operation -- three years -- and had its own power source.
Among other contraband seized included eight vehicles. No arrests were made in any of the raids, and going by the photos taken and published in Zacatecas en Linea the properties appeared to have been quickly abandoned.
Separately, according to the anonymous corespondent, the Gulf Cartel announced Sunday that it has taken control of Valparaiso municipality from Los Zetas. Several narcopintas appeared on the municipal seat four days ago announcing the takeover.
Said the correspondent, "CDG has taken Valparaiso from the zetas."
If the claim is true it can be considered a blow to Los Zetas in western Mexico.
A video was posted on Youtube about the multiple drug raids. It is worth nothing that in one scene an empty box a ammunition had the mark of the Mexican Army on it meaning it was likely sold to individuals outside of the army:
Special Thanks to the anonymous correspondent for the data and insights included in this article.
Borderland Beat reporter Chivis Martinez contributed to this story
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com