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

Monday, May 3, 2021

Sinaloa, the State With the Most Clandestine Drug Labs

"Morogris" for Borderland Beat

Federal authorities in a sophisticated narco laboratory in Sinaloa

For the last four years, Sinaloa has been the state where most clandestine drug laboratories have been detected. According to reports from 2016 to 2020, there have been 209 drug lab seizures in Sinaloa. 

This means that 55 percent of all drug lab discoveries in Mexico's 32 states have been in Sinaloa. Mexico's Attorney General's Office (FGR) has been responsible for recording this information and ordering security forces to destroy these labs once they are found.

In 2016, the FGR detected 86 drug labs, the largest figure to date for a single year. In 2017, the FGR found 60, followed by 27 in 2018. The numbers have been in decline ever since. In 2019, security forces discovered only 22 drug labs in Sinaloa, followed by 14 in 2020.

During this four year span, Michoacán had 61 narco-labs destroyed, followed by 20 in Durango.

Although 2020 was the year with the lowest narco-laboratory recordings across Mexico since 2016, Sinaloa's laboratories still represented 70 percent of all those recorded in the country. 

The municipality in Sinaloa with the most drug labs was Culiacán, followed by Elota, Mazatlán, Choix, and  Cosalá.

On April 29, during an operation in Culiacan, the Mexican Army and the State Preventive Police seized two tons of methamphetamine, which street value was of approximately US$20 million.

Although FGR generally does not provide information on which criminal groups own these labs, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reported that the Sinaloa Cartel is one of the main distributors of synthetic drugs in the US along with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Synthetic drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine represent nearly 90 percent of the drugs that are smuggled from Mexico to the US. Fentanyl, a deadlier narcotic, may head in that direction.

Since 2019, the DEA has been investigating synthetic drug producers in Mexico (particularly the Sinaloa Cartel) through Operation Wave Breaker, referred to in the Mexican media as Proyecto Rompeolas. 

Synthetic drugs like meth and fentanyl are very lucrative for Mexican drug cartels. As reported by Borderland Beat in a story where a journalist interviewed Sinaloa Cartel chemists, the gross margin on the sale of synthetic drugs is huge given its low production costs.

Although the Mexican government estimates that the cartels' production can be calculated from the seizures made, the amounts confiscated may represent between 10 and 15 percent of the real production.

Sources: Milenio; Infobae


  1. B.S.!
    Sinaloa drugs can be qouted with a line fron the movie The Untouchables. "Everybody knows where the booze is. That's not the problem. The problem is who wants to cross Capone".
    In this case you can trade boose for drugs and crossing Sinaloa instead of Capone

  2. Why do they ALWAYS say
    Synthetic drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine represent nearly 90 percent of the drugs that are smuggled from Mexico
    Last I checked COCAINE comes from Peru, Colombia and Bolivia not 🇲🇽

    1. You’re not very smart huh? Colombian, Peruvian, etc cocaine can’t get into the US efficiently unless it comes through Mexico. Mexican cartels are the biggest buyers of the South American product. China can’t get their product into the US easily, again the Mexican cartels are the biggest buyers because they have the routes to get it in. Once it lands into Mexico it can distributed all over the world. Heroin is grown in Mexico, does this make you angry?

    2. @7:40 Because Mexicans own the distribution, Chinese chemicals go to Mex, and Cocaine goes to Mex first as well.

      The Mexicans are the majority in U.S. prison and street gangs which is why they can rule the "calles".

    3. In the 1970s and 1980s all the coke came direct from South America to the US via ships and planes. The DEA cracked down hard in the Caribbean so the traffic moved west to Mexico which already has smuggling routes established over through and around the porous US border.

  3. cds anda fuerte con el ice

  4. One would have expected it to be Michoacan. Eye-opening it was Sinaloa.

    1. There's even more if you put together the whole Golden Triangle area.

  5. Earlier in pre-shutdown of BB, Mexican cartels had conquered taking precursors from Meth and Coke and produced the final product on their turf. Meth in Tijuana, Sinaloa, Michoacana, etc They now cook the whole product and can replicate the precursors, whether fentanyl or coke or meth Think Chinese, Columbian and American scientists, Capos only need raw material now as a supply chain, They are the product and installation,

  6. I mean one state is relatively safe even with the random clashes between local factions the overall operations remain in place while the other state is a literal war zone with roads being destroyed, towns being hold hostage, constant clashes plus CJNG destroying labs whenever they come across them might have something to do with it lol.

  7. Strange. Cjng is supposed to be #1 meth trafficker in mexico but more than 50% of all lab seizures took place in sinaloa??? how the fuck is that possible


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