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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Liquid Meth Flowing from Tainted Drinks

Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: LaCronica

                                               Sinaloa Cartel, behind the liquid Meth

Extra info from Zeta and Arestegui
Note: This is a report from August, however, the mysterious phenomenon continues particularly in the Mexicali Valley. Thanks to BB reader for the heads up !

At least seven people -  one of whom died  - were poisoned with liquid methamphetamine after ingesting a contaminated 7Up -liter two-liter soda.  

The intention of the drug trafficking organizations is to transfer the drug in liquid form to jump the last barrier to Mexicali or Tijuana, using products of recognized brands and of general consumption.

According to research, in Baja California, the Sinaloa Cartel is behind the poisoning in which one person died and six others were hospitalized after consuming methamphetamine liquid that was hidden in containers of two liters of soft drink 7Up.

Reportedly up to 25 people intoxicated by methamphetamine in San Luis Rio Colorado, they reported having consumed corn tortillas and soft drinks.

An apparent wave of cases of methamphetamine poisoning was recorded in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, since the morning of this Wednesday, after the patients reported the consumption of corn tortillas and soda. 

Daniel de la Paz Walker, director of Municipal Public Health, reported that there are already 25 cases admitted to different hospitals in San Luis, all of them with the same symptoms, although they expect the number to increase for this Thursday. (August)

So far there are no deceased persons and it is believed that their intoxication was due to the involuntary consumption of methamphetamine, as has occurred in the region, particularly in Mexicali, since two years ago in isolated cases. 

The first cases were reported in an office on Avenida 26 and Calle Nuevo León. Later a family entered with symptoms of dizziness, pain and nausea in a clinic on Guerrero Avenue and 34th Street.

The other cases were ambulance transfers that were admitted to the General Hospital of San Luis Río Colorado, who have symptoms of methamphetamine poisoning and in some cases have been positive in rapid tests of drug use. 

The municipal authorities are waiting for the Secretary of State Health, in the jurisdiction of San Luis Río Colorado, to inform them about the possible causes, because so far they have not been released to the press or the mayor of the city. 

Likewise, no suspicion or relationship has been established that corn flour or soft drinks contain methamphetamine. In previous months, the traffic of liquid methamphetamine hidden in cargoes of this type has been detected.

A preliminary statement said that in one of the cases, the intoxicated families said they had bought the tortillas and soft drinks in a grocery store in the Mezquite neighborhood and another in the Reforma neighborhood. 

Symptoms of Patients who unknowingly ingested liquid methamphetamine: • Dizziness, Pain,  Nausea and Positive Results of testing in some cases for drug use.

ZETA Investigations:

It is not the first time that a drink is contaminated with drugs; in August 2016, two people were poisoned after drinking a Gatorade rehydrating drink , on that occasion the person took from the shelves a container of 600 milliliters, which he bought in the now extinct  Tienda Mexican Comercial. Feeling the strange taste, the person returned to the store to return the product, store staff tasted the drink to corroborate the contamination and both people were hospitalized, presented intoxication by methamphetamine.

The Attorney General's Office (PGR) opened the investigation folder 0202-2016-34044 , they searched the warehouse of the distribution company, but they found no more contaminated product. It was assumed that the cargo had already been removed. They also did not follow a protocol with the contaminated bottle, the affected person did not keep the purchase receipt and the PGR could not link the product with the company and that's where the investigation ended.

Fashionable liquid finish:

After the legalization of marijuana in California, the drug cartels have sought in methamphetamine a way to sustain their profits by being an easy drug to manufacture at a lower price. According to data obtained by ZETA, in the states of Sinaloa, Sonora and recently Baja California, the criminal structures have reactivated the production of methamphetamine to send it to California and then distribute it to the entire United States.

An investigator from the State Public Security Secretariat pointed out that those who are operating in this way are members of the Sinaloa Cartel, which places them as the main suspects in infiltrating the bottling plants to move the drug to the border, avoiding seals and using high technology.

                                    Confiscated for testing at the Hermosillo Bottling Plant

"The Sinaloa Cartel uses liquid methamphetamine , as it is easy to confuse it with other types of beverages or liquids, so the cargoes in this presentation have been increasing," explained Benjamín Hill.

Proof of this are the various seizures in both Tijuana and Mexicali, where laboratories have been located with liquid methamphetamine. On January 31, 2017, a laboratory was discovered in the island division of the Playas de Tijuana delegation, the drug belonged to the Sinaloa Cartel, from the branch of Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. 

It was until February 3 that they were able to perform the search and found 47 liters of liquid methamphetamine.

In Mexicali, after months of investigation, on September 8, the State Preventive Police (PEP) located two laboratories, the first in the Independencia neighborhood, on Miguel Bravo Street, where three people were arrested, who were confiscated. approximately 15 kilos of "ice", ie meth.  It is presumed that the name of Saddam "N", 25 years old, was in charge of "cooking" the drug; meanwhile, Rosario Adolfo "N", 33 years old, of distributing it; and the woman, named Ana Karen "N", 25 years old, took care of the address.

After the capture, the three confessed that in the building there was one hundred liters of methamphetamine in liquid state, and the infrastructure to produce another hundred kilos of the same drug per week.

When continuing with the investigation, the agents located a second laboratory of the same delinquent cell; It was on Rusco Avenue in the Colonia del Roble neighborhood. There, Adam "N", 25 years old, was arrested, and about 10 kilos of ice were confiscated, and revealed that there were about 20 liters of liquid methamphetamine inside the home, as well as chemical precursors and material.

Another case occurred in September 2016, when 160 liters of liquid methamphetamine were seized in Ejido Tamaulipas, according to the Ministry of Public Security of the State (SSPE).  According to a researcher of the said secretariat, the system is not modern, since about four years ago they did it in bottles of whiskey, cognac and wine, but they had more control.

The person interviewed by ZETA added that the appearance of the contaminated soda for sale was an error, so that it could be used for executions in the coming days, and reported that the Deputy Attorney General for Organized Crime Research (SEIDO) is already investigating the entity , so they will have to follow the chain of custody of the product, from the warehouseman, the forklift, to the manager of the company, to determine who took unusual actions.

In his opinion, the company had nothing to do, however, it may be that the warehouse area or even a department of the company that is inflitration by the narcos, to confirm that the product originally left the Hermosillo plant.

He added that the vast majority of liquid methamphetamine is for sale in the United States and, despite having a particular smell and flavor, it is difficult to locate it in a giant lot such as the distribution of soda.

The liquid methamphetamine has to be treated by chemicals to return it to the solid state, it can even be handled from the crystalline presentation until it turns black.


On the afternoon of Sunday, September 17, the tranquility in the Ejido Jalapa was interrupted when José María Soto Gastélum, 37 years old, ingested a large drink of soda 7Up. Originally from the town of Guadalupe Victoria in the Valley of Mexicali, he was returning from a walk he made together with some friends in Cerro Prieto.

Seconds after ingesting the soda, he alerted his companions not to drink it, because it had a bitter taste and felt that it burned his throat. Relatives took him immediately to the clinic of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) in Ejido Nuevo León.

After the lack of attention -according to the family denounced- Soto Gastélum was transferred to the Red Cross of Kilometer 43, where they requested an ambulance to take him to the General Hospital of Mexicali, but on the way, the patient fell into respiratory arrest, so when they arrived at the Issstecali hospital in Ejido Nuevo León, where it was reported that they no longer had vital signs.

In the IMSS they took more time to attend to it than to pronounce on the subject. On Monday September 18 sent a statement regarding the person intoxicated by drinking the soda, noting that it was treated in the Unit of Family Medicine Number 5 Ejido Nuevo Leon: "The Institute states that in the review the patient presented vital signs stable It was detected with anxiety, without speech and slight movement of hands. However, his family decided to withdraw him from the UMF Number 5 without giving time to continue the attention by medical personnel.

"The Delegation has documentary evidence of the attention given and ratifies that in all cases where it is required, emergency services are available to the general population," the statement ends.

José María was the only mortal victim. The other six people who drank the soda were treated on time and managed to survive.

Methamphetamine confirmed:

César Raúl González Vaca, general coordinator of the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo), reported that José María Soto Gastélum passed away due to a generalized congestion of vital organs and an acute pulmonary edema, for which reason it can technically be considered that he died of an overdose.

González Vaca indicated that a urine test was done to determine what type of drug would have caused the death, and he tested positive for methamphetamine.

"Samples of blood, urine, gastric juice and all tissues of the body were taken to determine later the real cause and especially the toxic. A rapid test was done on urine, for what came out positive in methamphetamines, this is a qualitative test, we must wait for a quantitative test to determine the amount that was present in the body, "he said.

The patient did not have a history of drug use, and there were no related signs, such as injections.

Despite testing positive, the tests carried out at the Semefo do not show that Soto's death could have occurred through drinking. The forensic coordinator acknowledged that because of the state of their organs, it could be inferred that the methamphetamine was in large quantities, but that would have to be determined by the State Attorney General's Office, under the toxicological services performed by the experts.

However, the confirmation of the methamphetamine in Soto's body was the evidence that linked the puzzle, necessary to initiate an investigation to the bottling plant.

Similarly, the five people discharged after allegedly intoxicated by the soda, presented residues of methamphetamine in their body, as informed by the Secretary General of Government, Francisco Rueda Gómez. And he clarified that the patients did not present an elevated level of the drug as it happened in the case of Soto Gastélum.

Finally, the state official said that 106, 272 soft drinks were seized to prevent their distribution, in addition, studies were made to treat the case as isolated, or part of a whole production lot.

Response of PepsiCo Mexico:

ZETA asked PepsiCo Mexico for a position regarding the incident that occurred on Sunday, September 17, in the Valley of Mexicali; One day later, the company communicated via telephone, reporting the following:

"In relation to the facts registered in Mexicali, Baja California, for the affectation of the health related to the alleged consumption of 7Up in the Nuevo León and Jalapa ejidos, the following is ratified:

"Food safety is an absolute priority and we take very seriously any aspect related to the quality and safety of our products, we are collaborating with the authorities in the investigations of the incidents reported in the Mexicali area and our consumers are our priority, from beginning to end in the process of production, bottling and distribution, we follow rigorous processes of quality and food safety that meet high global standards in the manufacture of all our products; In the formulation of our products, only ingredients that are suitable for human consumption and that comply with current legislation are used, "the statement said, which was read by company personnel.

"The Delegation has documentary evidence of the attention given and ratifies that in all cases where it is required, emergency services are available to the general population," the statement ends.

AND From USA Today:

Health professionals in Arizona are warning those traveling to Mexico to be aware of possible contaminated 7Up beverages in the Mexicali area.

The contaminated soft drinks caused seven people to become ill and has killed one person, according to the Attorney General of Justice of the State of Baja California.

Mexicali is located about 240 miles from Phoenix and 124 miles from San Diego, just south of the California border and Interstate 8.

According to a Banner Health news release, medical toxicologists and physicians are on alert after reports surfaced that methamphetamine was found in 7Up drinks originating in Mexicali.

Baja California's Health Department officials said health authorities have removed the products from shelves.

Chris Barnes, spokesman for Dr Pepper Snapple Group, reassured that no 7Up products in the United States have been contaminated. The company distributes 7Up in the United States.

"None of the 7Up products sold in the U.S. are affected by the issue being reported in Mexico," said Barnes. "Dr Pepper Snapple owns and licenses the 7Up brand only in the U.S. and its territories. We do not market, sell or distribute the brand internationally."

The Baja attorney general's office announced on its Facebook page that an investigation is underway in order to figure out how the drug made its way into the soda.

Dr. Daniel Brooks at Banner Health cautioned anyone traveling to Mexico:

“It is important to check that the seal for any food and drink consumed is still intact and shows no signs of tampering,” Brooks said.

Some side effects of drinking contaminated sodas are burning of the esophagus and stomach, vomiting and a fast or irregular heartbeat, according to Banner Health.

In July, the U.S. State Department alerted travelers to Mexico about possible tainted or counterfeit alcohol that could cause sickness and blacking out.

That warning came in the wake of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation surrounding a Wisconsin woman’s death that raised questions about drinks being served in all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.


  1. Meth is a shitty drug. When California and other states banned the precursor chemicals and made it harder to manufacture, they inadvertantly created a monster in the willingness of Mexican cartels to fill in the gap. Now Meth is everywhere on both sides of the border and its pretty much shitty everywhere!

    1. The US government had to have some inclination that Meth was gonna be produced somewhere and somehow. It’s been that way since prohibition.

  2. This has been done since at least 2010 that I know of on the sonora border.. Manzanilla liters
    CDS nutthugger

    1. and in Baja.

      remember this story i wrote in 2017? the teen who agents encouraged to drink the "juice"? in San Ysidro

    2. Yes Dr. Chivis I remember, they also had a .documentary about it on 20/20. Poor kid was only trying to make extra money on the side.

    3. I never worked in baja so I wouldnt know but yes I do rememebr that story. CBP are some sick fucks for doing that. Idk if that kid was under Child protective services but you should see how people down at the border treat them very sad Crazy how thats not talked about more? But than again if your doing jales ppl dont wanna hear ur voice.
      CDS nutthugger

    4. Kid needed a real job to make $ on the side

  3. I don’t understand these cases tho. They are only “contaminated?” I’d like to know how pure the drink is to liquid meth. Like % wise. I’m guessing they are using the actual plant to cook the meth? And didn’t properly wash the equipment before using it to make soft drink.
    Or are they bringing the liquid meth in and only bottling it there for distribution, maybe straight into a trailer locked and sent to USA? And they didn’t clean the equipment correctly before using for bottling real soft drink again.
    Some how there ingredients is somehow been contaminated. Meaning a different plant that is supplying their bottles plastic or ingredients to make the drink is being used for meth purposes.
    Or least likely theory a single individual is intentionally attempting to poison customers.
    That works at the plant.

    1. I think it must be an inside job, someone working at the bottling plant; they bring in the already made liquid meth and bottle it there to camouflage it for shipping and yes, then maybe the equipment doesn’t get thoroughly cleaned.
      It sure wasn’t in Pepsi-co ‘s interest to be poisoning random innocent people. There must be entire batches of real liquid meth meant to get shipped across the US border, like the cocaine in the chili pepper cans.
      I am guessing, of course, but it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

  4. Oh boy! I'm about to go get me some 7 Up right now!


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