Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mexican Army seizes record amount of meth precursors in Queretaro


Mexico's army has made one of its biggest-ever drug busts, seizing a warehouse full of chemicals that experts say could have been used to make billions of dollars worth of methamphetamine.

Just under 840 tonnes of the chemicals used for making methamphetamine were found in a warehouse in an industrial area in Queretaro, about 125 miles north of Mexico City, the Defense Ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.

According to local media and a leading analyst, it was the largest seizure of meth chemicals since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led crackdown on Mexico's drug cartels shortly after taking office at the end of 2006.

"This is the biggest seizure there's been of precursor chemicals (in Mexico)," said Alberto Islas, a security expert at consultancy Risk Evaluation. It may even be the biggest seizure ever made worldwide, Islas added.

The seizure in central Mexico, which the army conducted on Monday, included 787 tonnes of phenylacetamide and 52.5 tonnes of tartaric acid, all in 25 kilogram (55 pound) packets.

Both chemicals can be used in the manufacture of meth, a stimulant that is smuggled across the U.S. border and sold in crystal or powder form.

Government photos of the warehouse showed chemicals piled high in hundreds of white sacks, long rows of 200-liter (53-gallon) blue barrels, dozens of packing crates and a forklift truck.

The ministry declined to say whether there had been any arrests.

Islas said the size of the haul showed methamphetamine was being manufactured on an industrial scale in Mexico.

If the seized chemicals were processed in a sophisticated lab they could yield nearly 3.5 million doses, which would have a street value in the United States of nearly $28 billion, Islas calculated on the basis of current market prices.

Other estimates put the potential street value of the seizure at a minimum of $6 billion.

Queretaro has not been a hotspot in the Mexican government's fight against traffickers, which is mostly focused on states on the U.S. border in the north of the country.

Meth, which can cause brain damage and violent behavior, is a law enforcement priority in the United States, where the drug has ravaged many rural communities.

Addicts sometimes cook small, homemade batches of meth using recipes found on the Internet, but strict regulations have made it more difficult for U.S. producers to compete with bigger, more sophisticated operations in Mexico.

To read SEDENA's official statement (in Spanish), please enter here.

Mexican Army soldiers await the opening of the warehouse

Above photos by: Juan Jose Arreola


  1. the total amount of chemicals seized (including liquids) is 1205.5 TONS

  2. Merry Christmas very early El Chapo!!!!!! It will be coming your way in a week or two after all the photo shoots!!!!!!

  3. Who? It is a Zeta area but I don't see them that sophisticated or organized. Beltrans' in the area but not organized for that. CDG is more into the cocaine for the most part aren't they? LFM and the other one are fighting too much to be working at this scale don't y'all think? El Chapo's labs are on the coast. Who took this hit? If it is Zetas', Mexico is in real trouble!!! Someone is going to pay dearly for this bust no doubt!!!

  4. This bust is gonna save a lot of teeth... Lol
    Meth is a nasty drug. Good job.


  5. @ ET...soooo trruuueeeee. Unfortunately, it will be passed on to the cartel in favor.

  6. Holy shit! Can't imagine Capo's anger. :D

  7. "El inmueble y lo asegurado quedaron a disposición de las autoridades correspondientes."

    Could someone translate this? Does it say that stuff got insurance? :D

    Can't be sure with my translator..

  8. El inmueble y lo asegurado quedaron a disposición de las autoridades correspondientes..


    The Building and the Captured merchandise(Asegurado) were left under the care of the corresponding authorities

  9. And we can't buy pseudoepinephrine at Walgreens without signing for it.

  10. "If the seized chemicals were processed in a sophisticated lab they could yield nearly 3.5 million doses, which would have a street value in the United States of nearly $28 billion, Islas calculated on the basis of current market prices."

    $28 billion / 3.5 million doses = $8,000 per dose.

    Must be a lot of multi-millionaire meth-heads if those are the prices.

  11. $8,000 per dose? That's too rich for my blood.

  12. This whole thing sounds interesting but you have to ask, why couldn't they report any arrests and where will all the chemicals be after the photo ops? Queretero is far from the main cartel patrols. Did the army just stumble on the warehouse? Why was it left unguarded and who owned or was renting the warehouse? Lot's of questions, but I think the main one is, where are the chemicals now.

  13. Wow...I just visited this state which is a really nice area, low in crime and seemed to be immune from the corruption/cartel violence found elsewhere...I guess the whole country is vulnerable to a downward slide.

  14. Texcoco Mex said

    Good work

  15. Good bust. Meth= the devil. Meth and "prescription" pills are currently the most dangerous drugs that are most detrimental to our society. Not coke, not heroin, and ESPECIALLY NOT marijuana. I've been a musician for 30+ years and have seen, and tasted, alot. I've never seen people ruin their lives as dramatically (and as quickly) as they have been doing over the last 20 years with meth and pills (vicodin, xanax, oxy, adderall, etc) Yes, heroin and coke, can be dangerous as well, but it seems we've entered a new phase with drug use and distribution...and its scarier than ever.

  16. 7 32 its a exagetation. They do it all the time here also. If u look up drug bust in your state and break down the math you will see the dea and law enforcement exagerate the prices to seem like they did a bettee job. I remeber earlier this year in the chicago land area they claimed to have a million dollar pot bust. 65 lbs of high grade west cost hydro. But that breaks down to like 15k/lb which is totally blown up. Guestimation is they'd sell from 4-5thousand, so 200-300k. And even if u gramed it out u wouldn't get no were near 15k a pound.

  17. Zetas and Beltran operate in that area,what makes you think both of them are not organized for that?if they lost all that money then for sure alot of head are gonna roll.@12:55am I don't know what part of cartels are a highly criminal organization you don't understand and yes all are organized,some more then others.


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