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

Monday, April 20, 2020

CDS Transforms their Drug Manufacturing Despite Lack of Precursor Chemicals

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Infobae
The Sinaloa Cartel is transformed due to the lack of Chinese precursors to manufacture drugs: it adds university professors to its laboratories; "El Mayo"  Zambada's  criminal organization continues opioid production  despite coronavirus pandemic. 

Mexican cartels of the drug ran a few months ago with a devastating thing for their dirty business: chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines and fentanyl, which are sourced from China, are running low. In fact, economists predicted that global closings by coronavirus they would have an effect on the ability of criminal organizations to produce synthetic drugs.

However, seizure data from the US Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reveals near-record amounts of fentanyl appearing in the United States on a monthly basis. In March, for example, CBP seized 216 pounds of fentanyl (98 kilograms) just at ports of entry.

Drugs seized by  US border screening. The data belongs to the fiscal year 2020 that runs from October 2019 to September 2020. (Table: US Customs and Border Protection)

Although China is documented as the largest source of illicit chemical precursors arriving in Mexico for opioid production - they are responsible for shipping two ingredients known as NPP and 4aNPP for the manufacture of fentanyl - the current leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel under Ismael Zambada García, Los Chapitos and Rafael Caro Quintero, switched some active methamphetamine labs to fentanyl labs; in other words, the most powerful organization in Mexico focused on manufacturing and distributing these synthetic drugs.

In 2014, Mexican criminal groups saw an opportunity in the opioid market, especially when the US  began to control pseudoephedrine-containing cold medications that Americans used to make synthetic drugs.
                                Drugs seized by CBP in times of Coronavirus (Photo: Special)
Sinaloa , Mexico is one of the areas where manufacturing lies. Two years ago, in the drug trafficking stronghold, the cartel with the same name began hiring chemistry professors from universities throughout Mexico . Professionals work in fentanyl labs overseeing daily production.

They are also trying to change the molecular analogue of fentanyl to create a new synthetic version , although much less pure than that of the Chinese. The objective is to use chemical precursors that are no longer dependent on import into Asia. The new formula will allow drug traffickers to use chemicals that are easier to obtain and available at all times.
     Some methamphetamine drug labs were replaced by places to make fentanyl (Photo: EFE)
Former DEA agent Terry Cole determines that about 10 to 20 fentanyl laboratories currently operate in the Mexican nation. Large tablet presses capable of producing millions of pills in one day are used in these locations. The price to make the tablets is pennies on the dollar.

In the laboratories, the chemists hired by the mafias work actively. Terry Cole, points out that even many of these teachers continue to teach in universities.
A package of fentanyl seized in the USA.  The smugglers used the image of the Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar (Photo:

Fentanyl labs are generally smaller than methamphetamine labs because of their volatility (the tendency of a substance to go into the vapor phase). In places where this type of opioid is manufactured, the chemist often works completely covered in a level A self - contained breathing apparatus , specially designed for rescuers and firefighters.

Research on opioid laboratories reveals that opioid laboratories have settled in places that suppose a quiet life and free from problems related to organized crime . According to the DEA, the majority is located in Sinaloa.
Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing massive amounts of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl (Photo:

In 2019, Mexican authorities raided a fentanyl drug laboratory of the Sinaloa Cartel , in a large industrial park in Monterrey, Nuevo León. That factory was completely closed and was what Americans describe as "superlab."

But the first dismantling of a laboratory of this type of opioid occurred in 2018. Federal police located and secured a clandestine site in the border city of Mexicali, Baja California.

At the site was a biochemist from Bulgaria and a Mexican accomplice, both allegedly associated with Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada. The operation resulted in the seizure of 20,000 counterfeit carfentanil pills.
Michoacán: A drug laboratory was found and dismantled where synthetic drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamine and methamphetamine were made (PHOTO: CUARTOSCURO)

Fentanyl and other synthetic opiates in the United States come primarily from Mexico. According to the Anti-Drug Agency, the country's transnational criminal organizations, including the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG, Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel, remain the largest criminal drug threat in the United States.

Step by Step to Hell:
The walls of the borders between countries are not obstacles for drug traffickers. The growing presence of opioids in Mexico and the United States has China as its point of origin.

The entire sales operation has been based for 20 years, on the shipment of cargo ships that appear on invoices and receipts as legitimate assets. The ships arrive at the ports of Manzanillo, Lázaro Cárdenas, Veracruz and Ensenada , which are under the control of drug trafficking organizations that facilitate the arrival of the ships without problems.
The route of the transfer of chemical precursors from China to Mexico and finally to the United States.

Barrels with chemical precursors are fully stacked on shipments. Container invoices and markings are dummy to mask real , completely counterfeit chemicals from China.

In the same way as the Asian mafia, Mexican smugglers introduce fentanyl by sea shipment. According to CPB data, 681 kilograms of opioids were seized from ships.
                           A container of fentanyl disguised as benzyl alcohol (Photo: Special)
China's practice as a supplier of chemicals is still maintained, but it has been gradually displaced by the Mexican drug cartels.

A 2019 Drug Enforcement Administration report details that fentanyl has a dominant presence in regions such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.
Plastic bags of fentanyl are displayed on a table in the US Customs and Border Protection area, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.  November 29, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS / Joshua Lott)

Fentanyl was produced in 1959 by a Belgian chemist and doctor named Paul Janssen. It has gone through over 1,400 new analogues of the original formula. In Mexico, for example, criminal organizations combine opioid with other clandestine diluents such as heroin. Furthermore, they have dabbled in making counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl.

A lethal dose of such a narcotic is estimated to be approximately two milligrams but may vary based on an individual's body size, tolerance, amount of previous use, and other factors.

Meanwhile from ABC News Today:  "Cartels are scrambling" : Virus snarls global drug trade

Coronavirus is dealing a gut punch to the illegal drug trade, paralyzing economies and severing supply chains in China that traffickers rely on for the chemicals to make such drugs as methamphetamine and fentanyl.

New York, NY: Coronavirus is dealing a gut punch to the illegal drug trade, paralyzing economies, closing borders and severing supply chains in China that traffickers rely on for the chemicals to make such profitable drugs as methamphetamine and fentanyl.

One of the main suppliers that shut down is in Wuhan, the epicenter of the global outbreak.

Associated Press interviews with nearly two dozen law enforcement officials and trafficking experts found Mexican and Colombian cartels are still plying their trade as evidenced by recent drug seizures but the lockdowns that have turned cities into ghost towns are disrupting everything from production to transport to sales.

Along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border through which the vast majority of illegal drugs cross, the normally bustling vehicle traffic that smugglers use for cover has slowed to a trickle. Bars, nightclubs and motels across the country that are ordinarily fertile marketplaces for drug dealers have shuttered. And prices for drugs in short supply have soared to gouging levels.

“They are facing a supply problem and a demand problem,” said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst and former official with CISEN, the Mexican intelligence agency. “Once you get them to the market, who are you going to sell to?”

Virtually every illicit drug has been impacted, with supply chain disruptions at both the wholesale and retail level. Traffickers are stockpiling narcotics and cash along the border, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration even reports a decrease in money laundering and online drug sales on the so-called dark web.

“The godfathers of the cartels are scrambling,” said Phil Jordan, a former director of the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center.

Cocaine prices are up 20 percent or more in some cities. Heroin has become harder to find in Denver and Chicago, while supplies of fentanyl are falling in Houston and Philadelphia. In Los Angeles, the price of methamphetamine has more than doubled in recent weeks to $1,800 per pound.

“You have shortages but also some greedy bastards who see an opportunity to make more money,” said Jack Riley, the former deputy administrator of the DEA. “The bad guys frequently use situations that affect the national conscience to raise prices.”

Synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl have been among the most affected, in large part because they rely on precursor chemicals that Mexican cartels import from China, cook into drugs on an industrial scale and then ship to the U.S.

“This is something we would use as a lesson learned for us,” the head of the DEA, Uttam Dhillon, told AP. “If the disruption is that significant, we need to continue to work with our global partners to ensure that, once we come out of the pandemic, those precursor chemicals are not available to these drug-trafficking organizations.”

Cartels are increasingly shifting away from drugs that require planting and growing seasons, like heroin and marijuana, in favor of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which can be cooked 24/7 throughout the year, are up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and produce a greater profit margin.

Though some clandestine labs that make fentanyl from scratch have popped up sporadically in Mexico, cartels are still very much reliant upon Chinese companies to get the precursor drugs.

Huge amounts of these mail-order components can be traced to a single, state-subsidized company in Wuhan that shut down after the outbreak earlier this year, said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University, which monitors Chinese websites selling fentanyl.

“The quarantine of Wuhan and all the chaos there definitely affected the fentanyl trade, particularly between China and Mexico,” said Ben Westhoff, author of "Fentanyl, Inc."

“The main reason China has been the main supplier is the main reason China is the supplier of everything — it does it so cheaply,” Westhoff said. “There was really no cost incentive for the cartels to develop this themselves.”

But costs have been rising and, as in many legitimate industries, the coronavirus is bringing about changes.

Advertised prices across China for precursors of fentanyl, methamphetamine and cutting agents have risen between 25% and 400% since late February, said Logan Pauley, an analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington-based security research nonprofit. So even as drug precursor plants in China are slowly reopening after the worst of the coronavirus crisis there, some cartels have been taking steps to decrease their reliance on overseas suppliers by enlisting scientists to make their own precursor chemicals.

“Because of the coronavirus they’re starting to do it in house,” added Westhoff.

Some Chinese companies that once pushed precursors are now advertising drugs like hydroxychloroquine, which President Donald Trump has promoted as potential treatment for COVID-19, as well as personal protective gear such as face masks and hand sanitizers.

Meanwhile, the gummed up situation on the U.S.-Mexico border resembles a stalled chess match where nobody, especially the traffickers, wants to make a wrong move, said Kyle Williamson, special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso field division.

“They’re in a pause right now,” Williamson said. “They don’t want to get sloppy and take a lot of risks.”

Some Mexican drug cartels are even holding back existing methamphetamine supplies to manipulate the market, recognizing that “no good crisis should be wasted,” said Joseph Brown, the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Texas.

“Some cartels have given direct orders to members of their organization that anyone caught selling methamphetamine during this time will be killed,” said Brown, whose sprawling jurisdiction stretches from the suburbs of Dallas to Beaumont.

To be sure, narcotics are still making their way into the U.S., as evidenced by a bust last month in which nearly $30 million worth of street drugs were seized in a new smuggling tunnel connecting a warehouse in Tijuana to southern San Diego. Shelley said that bust was notable in that only about 2 pounds of fentanyl was recovered, “much lower than usual shipments.”

Trump announced earlier this month that Navy ships were being moved toward Venezuela as part of a bid to beef up counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean following a U.S. drug indictment against Nicolás Maduro.

But the pandemic also has limited law enforcement’s effectiveness, as departments cope with drug investigators working remotely, falling ill and navigating a new landscape in which their own activities have become more conspicuous. In Los Angeles County, half of the narcotics detectives have been put on patrol duty, potentially imperiling long-term investigations.

Nonetheless, Capt. Chris Sandoval, who oversees special investigations for the Houston-based Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said there’s a new saying among his detectives: “Not even the dope dealers can hide from the coronavirus.”


  1. Transforming drugs without proper chemicals means even more crap sold by CDS than what it is now.
    Anyone who uses thia shit deserves to OD for being such imbeciles.

    1. 😂 lol serio!

    2. It's pure poison anybody that messes with that shit is a idiot. It disgusts me that this is what the world has turned too. All of those Narco bosses deserve the worst .

    3. Why? They aren't forcing anyone to buy it! America is about freedom. I can drink beer but I can't take a different drug in the comfort of my home (or under the bridge)

  2. Not to worry China wants to make a profit, will be shipping precurser chemicals, once the machines are up and running.

  3. That was a really good article. Thank you Yaqui.

  4. Cds is all over The world in 70% of The world thats crazy

  5. In my area there was an epidemic of the Mbox 30 pills killing people left and right. The sick thing is these pills soon became highly sought after for the very same reason.

    I think the pills were a way of feeling out the public, now the powder is coming through in droves.

    1. I hear what your saying- but it isnt the same as how people used to flock to good dope spots in inner cities- fentynyl is a garbage drug- the "high" sucks and it isnt euphoric- i dont get why the cartels insist on offing their customers/$.. ive had a script for almost every opiate known to man, and fentynyl was probably the worst-

  6. is it safe for americans to go go mexico to buy medication? is the mexican dangerous?

    1. Can you try that again ?
      Um, you HAVE heard of Border restrictions right now do to COVID ?

  7. Get ready for more people to drop like flies after a hot shot of the fent.

    1. Not to worry, they do drugs they pay the price. Besides majority of people are out of a job, not much money will be coming to the cartels.

  8. South of China there is a group of countries that is deep into meth trafficking, Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos/Myanmar/etc. the chemicals can just as easily be sourced from those countries in which COVID quarantine is not as much of an obstacle.

  9. The entire Chinese synthetic drug pipeline from precursor all the way to the pill is a systematic plan by the CCP to keep Mexico & the USA in a constant state of chaos. How is it that China's stringent domestic laws which prohibit drug trafficking are enforced within the country but large shipments of chemicals used to manufacture synthetic opioids manage to reach the coastlines of Mexico?? Something doesn't smell right. I suspect Xi Jinping himself authorized & is involved in the systematic poisoning of Mexico & the USA through the production of meth/fent.

    1. Bingo.
      This has been going on for years. The point of fentanyl and now corona, is to weaken the united states. China basically has us by the balls right now- and this shit(corona) was 100% released on purpose- it wasnt from some bat being sold to some goof in a wet market.

      Chinas main goal is to take over the world, and theyre well on their way to achieving that. This is what "war" looks like in 2020. Hopefully sicario666 has his boys ready to jump out of the bushes and stop it from happening-

  10. As loong as there is drano, toilet plungers and toilet scabs to scrape off, there will be drugs to sell...
    What worries me is po hill Jordan's name being used along with Alejandro Hope's of CISEN, their to the venerable CIA puppet, the mexican political police DFS that controlled and commanded the Guadalajara Cartel of felix gallardo, caro quintero and Don Neto who murdered Kiki Camarena on orders of CIA rogue agents, right, but covered up by the whole CIA, DEA, NSA and US government.
    Now they are all worried about the " Mexican Capos del Narco" going bankrupt in two or three weeks of precursors if they could not just live off the imaginary billions of dollars a week they have accumulated over the last 50 or 60 years trafficking drugs to the US...
    --Some reports are really not much than Hit Jobs, makes me wonder if this one came out of a totoaba bladder.

  11. wonder if any connection between Wuhan and chemicals used for illegal drugs to the States with most deaths from Virus in those states that use illegal drugs
    I see a connection
    A complete tox srceen of those who have died since this began Would be very interesting
    not saying ole people were on illegal drugs But if a illegal substance was around them when they died
    Great reporting Thank You

    send this to Breitbart CNN CBS etc

  12. Can anyone read whats on those white buckets labels ?
    And Why use Guns to kill, When you have Fent ?
    alot less messy, no noise,

    1. China couldnt beat the usa in a typical "war." This is their way making the usa weaker- from fent to corona- this is all the chinese doing. And none of it was "accidental."

      (And the line about them not beating the usa in the typical type of how wars are fought/won etc, is straight from some dude in the ccp.)

  13. Cds aka the child molestor snitch cartel


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;