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

Friday, April 8, 2022

Synthetic Drugs Displace Marijuana

 "Ivan" for Borderland Beat 

Crops persist for the subsistence of poor peasants

With some changes, peasants in the Sierra de Sinaloa continue to produce poppy and marijuana, although not in the quantities that were produced in previous years, but in a more measured way due to the presence of the army, and because in rural areas of Badiraguato, Cósala, San Ignacio and Choix, since there is no economic development, what remains for the peasant is to plant poppies to survive.

“We continue planting because there are no more around here; sometimes it is sold to them, other times not, but people continue planting, especially semi-chronic weed,” said a farmer who planted marijuana and poppies until a few years ago, and today he has begun to plant semi-chronic marijuana, which they send to its sale to Mexico City and Guadalajara.

Ioan Grillo, security analyst and author of research related to security and drug trafficking, considered that the market has moved more towards the production of synthetic drugs, because it is more profitable for the big bosses to produce methamphetamine or fentanyl, than drugs. that are based on plants such as poppies and marijuana.

“I have been investigating this issue for months, and it is clear that the cartels are moving more synthetic than traditional drugs, and it can be seen in the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl that they seize at the borders, compared to traditional drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, or even traditional heroin is no longer the same, and everything seems to indicate that the market is going in that direction,” said Grillo, author of books such as El narco y caudillos del crime.

From June 2020 to June 2021, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported 104,000 overdose deaths in the United States, almost three times more than the murders reported in Mexico in that same period, which confirms that the problem affects both countries.

According to the Secretary of National Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval González, although it is true that the Mexican cartels are more violent today, it is also a reality that they produce more synthetic drugs than traditional ones, despite the fact that poppy production is still in force because today Today, according to farmers in the Badiraguato mountain area, the opium gum used to produce heroin is extracted from there and mixed with fentanyl.

“At first, pure fentanyl was sent to the United States, but many people died of an overdose because it was very strong and they did not know how to measure the quantities, and that is why today what is done is that heroin is mixed with fentanyl, which it makes it more powerful but it doesn't kill the person who uses it,” said a heroin producer from Culiacán.

What is on the rise is the production of M-30 pills, which are based on fentanyl and are produced in large quantities in clandestine laboratories in Culiacán, and are sent by dozens to cities such as Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, to there be distributed to the rest of the country, however, does not exceed the amount of opium that continues to be produced.

Another situation that has affected the peasants is that today they are extorted by the bosses who control certain mountain areas, although it was not specified whether the extortion is for money, or a demand that they not sell the opium gum to anyone else but them.

“It is still difficult to pinpoint figures, but it is clear that the incentive to invest in precursors is greater than when you do all the work of growing poppies, cooking the drug, and following the rest of the process that includes trafficking the same drug; that is to say, the gain in synthetic drugs is greater than in traditional drugs”, explained Grillo.

According to the sources consulted, a kilo of opium gum in the mountains is currently at 10,000 pesos, and that of marijuana at 500 pesos, while a kilo of semi-chronic marijuana has a price of 2,000 pesos, although it is sent more to the inside the country.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said this week that synthetic drugs enter Mexico from Asia and covertly, with requests from ghost laboratories that argue they are going to use the chemical for medical purposes.

“All that synthetic drug arrives undercover with requests from laboratories that are supposedly going to use them for medical purposes, but this is not the case, synthetic drugs that go to laboratories have been seized; even, they are supposedly routes to deliver these substances in different parts, in the different regions of the country, and there is no laboratory, they do not exist, they are private houses, ”explained the president this week.

Article published on April 03, 2022 in the 1001 edition of the weekly Ríodoce.



  1. Poor peasants get paid with a permit to live for the time being unless somebody decides their time is over, if they want to eat they must do in their own time, drug traffickers scam, they don't pay...

  2. Products must get delivered to their destinataries before the sender gets paid, then they get to the "labs" on it's own mule two feet, another lab and another lab lose the shit to highway robbers, (I bet mexican military UPS gets their breaks wet on the shit)

  3. Many ppl would rather have H then Fent in the states, if they had a choice.

  4. 3:03 when peepol OD on Fent, their compas think the H was pure and too strong and they hurry to get their share before it is all gone


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