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

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Lab Equipment Company Connected to "Los Chapitos" Had Contracts Worth $2 Million with Mexican Governments

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

Sumilab, based primarily in Culiacán, Sinaloa, sells chemical products and laboratory equipment.

One of the Mexican companies sanctioned by the United States on May 9, 2023, has been revealed to be a supplier to both state and federal governments. Between 2018 and 2022, the Sinaloa state government, then headed by Quirino Ordaz Coppel, now Mexico’s ambassador to Spain, awarded the company contracts for 14.7 million pesos, or $835,000.

According to 71 invoices published by the Government of Sinaloa on the National Transparency Platform, these purchases were made primarily through and for the Culiacán Hospital and the Sinaloan Institute of Educational Physical Infrastructure. Both the current government of Rubén Rocha Moya and former governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel declined to answer or comment when contacted by news outlet El Pais.

Sumilab S.A. Company History

According to the Sumilab website, they are a 100% Mexican-owned company with more than 34 years of experience. Sumilab purports to specialize in the production and distribution of substances, equipment, and materials for all types of laboratories. The website lists and offers for sale various chemical, agricultural safety, and laboratory equipment, materials, and test supplies. For e-commerce sales from the website, the company only accepts PayPal payment methods.

We are a 100% Mexican company with more than 33 years of experience in the commercialization and distribution of products, equipment, and materials for all types of research, industrial, educational, clinical, agricultural, and aquaculture laboratories. We have the support of the most important and prestigious brands in the international laboratory equipment market, which allows us to offer our clients a portfolio with a wide range of options and proposals to meet their needs. At SUMILAB we care about providing you with the best service at all times, always striving for quality and efficiency in each of our processes, which is why our staff is highly trained to help and guide our clients in any decision-making process.

SUMILAB Company Statement

The company was founded in 1986 by Jorge Luis Favela Lopez, Victor Andre Favela Lopez, and Francisco Favela Lopez. The current company Sumilab however, was registered 22 years ago on May 25, 2001, as a company that wholesales chemical products for the pharmaceutical industry and other industrial uses. The company falls under the business activity category of 'Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Products.' 

Sumilab was featured in Bien Informados magazine in 2015 interviewing General Manager Victor Andre Favela Lopez.

Information on the company's founding comes from Bien Informada magazine feature in its September 2015 issue, with Victor Andre Favela Lopez, the General Manager of Sumilab. According to the article, Sumilab provides services and products of laboratory equipment and materials for the areas of research, institutional, government, school, industry, and agriculture. Expansion of the company occurred in 1995, first to Culiacán; then in 1996 to Los Mochis, and in 2003 to Ciudad Obregon and Hermosillo, Sonora in 2005.

"One of the strong points is the immediate distribution, since the customer needs the product for yesterday and today, not for tomorrow or the next week," says General Manager Víctor Andrés Favela López of Sumilab.

The Sinaloan firm's main sales areas are research and innovation, and in recent years its market has been more focused on agricultural companies, since they have to be certified, and Sumilab supports them with the necessary instruments. "We have had a lot of growth in the agricultural sector since there is a boom in agricultural research," Victor says.

Sumilab displaying at the American Fisheries Society trade show in 2012

Sumilab displaying at the Expo Agro trade show in 2020

Culiacan Sumilab in June 2009

Their sanctioned address in Culiacan has seen a large amount of construction over the years, transforming the location from a small, single-level design not too different than the tire shops, paint stores, and mariscos spots nearby into a lavish, high-end modern office-style building that towers over its neighbors.

Culiacan Sumilab in May 2020

Lobby of Culiacan Sumilab in May 2020

Next to Culiacan Sumilab in May 2020

Next to Culiacan Sumilab in May 2020

Sonora Location

Sumilab in Hermosillo, Sonora

Mazatlan Location

Mazatlan Sumilab in 2009

Mazatlan Sumilab in 2014

In 2021, a new company was registered at the Mazatlan location called Storelab. In 2022, the building underwent construction, still with a Sumilab banner across the front. The building was being transformed into a similarly modern, high-end office building.

Sumilab/Storelab in Mazatlan in June 2022

Closeup of the Sumilab sign at Storelab in Mazatlan in June 2022

Storelab, SA de CV

The company named Storelab was registered at the Santa Rosa 3202 Mazatlan, Sinaloa address that Sumilab had occupied for over a decade. The company is listed in the Medical Laboratory Equipment industry. The company's website features several of the same products as Sumilab's site and features similar design and navigation elements. In fact, the Storelab company's information page is identical to that of the content seen on Sumilab's site, save Storelab wording.

Storelab company page

Sumilab company page

Sinaloa government contracts

Government Sales & Contracts

According to contracts and invoices registered in Mexico’s National Transparency Platform, the Government of Sinaloa acquired chemicals and laboratory material to equip the Civil Hospital of Culiacán and several state universities, including the Technological University of Culiacán and the Polytechnic University of Valle del Évora, located in Guamúchil, Sinaloa. Some of the equipment sold included reagents, filters, acetates, materials, accessories, and laboratory supplies, including convection ovens and microscopes.

Sumilab won more contracts between 2017 and 2021. The offices of Sinaloa Governor Rubén Rocha Moya continued to acquire items from Sumilab. In 2022, the Government of Sinaloa purchased material from Sumilab valued at 871,00 pesos, or $50,000.

Additionally, Sinaloa-based offices that are part of the federal government including two research centers belonging to the National Council of Humanities, Sciences, and Technologies (Conahcyt) and branches of the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research (INIFAP) have purchased equipment and chemicals from Sumilab.

Sinaloa Attorney General's Office Purchases

According to the information available on the National Transparency Portal, Sumilab has been a provider of the State Attorney General's Office since 2017, when it was directed by Juan José Ríos Estavillo, and at least until September 2022, already under the command of Sara Bruna Quiñónez.

Sinaloa Health Services & Hospitals

The information published in the PNT shows that Sinaloa Health Services have had Sumilab as a regular provider since 2015 when Mario López Valdez was governor.

The more than 400 contracts that Sumilab has received have been under all schemes: bidding, direct award, and invitation. And among the products purchased are face masks, hair caps, chemical products such as potassium hydroxide, alcohol, microtome knives, disposable blades, pathology supplies, latex gloves, and all kinds of chemical, pharmaceutical, and laboratory material, with varied amounts, the largest being more than 100 thousand pesos.

During the administration of Rocha Moya, the Sinaloa Health Services directed first by Héctor Melesio Cuen Ojeda and later by Cuitláhuac González Galindo, have maintained Sumilab as an important supplier, even when purchases are for small amounts, they were constant month after month.

Sumilab also has among its main clients the Civil Hospital of Culiacán, with more than 130 sales contracts from 2017 to mid-2022, also under all schemes: direct purchases or by invitation, from chemical products to healing material, furniture, and laboratory equipment.

For his part, Israel Martínez, Director of the Culiacán Civil Hospital between 2019 and 2021 confirmed the purchases made from the company linked to Los Chapitos but emphasized that no chemical substances were purchased, only laboratory material. “Such operations were carried out based on the [contract] awards processes stipulated in the law, according to a purchasing committee to which [the firm] submitted itself for approval,” he clarifies.

University of Sonora contract order


Andrés Castro was director of the Sinaloan Institute of Educational Physical Infrastructure (ISIFE) between January 2017 and May 2019, when Sumilab was given the first contract valued at 700,000 pesos ($40,000). Castro assured that during his tenure, ISIFE carried out contracting procedures in accordance with legal regulations and asserted that the participants complied with the requirements established in the bidding process. He says that he was unaware that the company was being investigated by the United States.

When Castro left ISIFE in 2019, former Sinaloa Governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel appointed his then-Secretary of Sustainable Development as the head of the institution. Ruelas signed the documents with Sumilab when the acquisitions were made for 12 million pesos, or $680,000.

Federal & Other State Governments

The same is true of the federal government: before 2018, the only entity at the federal level that had contracts with the company linked to Los Chapitos was the Administration and Investment Trust to support scientific research and technological development at the National Institute of Forestry Research, Agricultural, and Livestock, which depends on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), formerly known as the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).

Overall, from 2018 until now, the company has received 2.7 million pesos or $155,000 from federal government entities, through the Food and Development Research Center (CIAD) and the Northwest Biological Research Center. Health agencies and universities in the Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Chihuahua, and Puebla have also purchased chemicals and materials from Sumilab. The Sonora and Baja governments' purchases increased after 2018 according to the National Transparency Platform.

Sanction Implications

According to the US Treasury Department, Joaquin Guzman Lopez is involved in the management of super labs, which have often been supplied by a network run by Sinaloa-based brothers Ludim and Luis Alfonso Zamudio Lerma, and in the trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States. In February of this year, OFAC designated the Zamudio Lerma brothers pursuant to E.O. 14059.

On May 9 of this year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury included Sumilab on its sanction lists. The company was sanctioned for its alleged involvement in the supply and shipment of chemical precursors used for the production of drugs to members of the Sinaloa Cartel, specifically included when sanctioning Joaquin "El Guero" Guzman Lopez for fentanyl trafficking.

That designation blocks the sale of property and other assets, prohibiting any transaction with or within the United States. Likewise, the Department of the Treasury states that individuals who participate in certain transactions with designated persons or companies may also face sanctions. Clearly, this forces all Mexican government entities from doing business with Sumilab, if they had not stopped already previous to the sanctions being announced.

OFAC designated all four individuals, as well as Sumilab, pursuant to E.O. 14059 as well for having engaged in, or attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.

Chemical precursors are shipped to Mexico from China via networks laid out in the April 14 indictments against "Los Chapitos." That network of suppliers will be explored further in an upcoming Borderland Beat article. The sons of "El Chapo" have denied their involvement in the trafficking of fentanyl and issued a statement via their lawyer in response to their indictments. 

This week, Borderland Beat received a rebuttal letter from Damaso López Serrano, also known as "El Mini Lic." In this letter, he provides background information on their history in trafficking and refutes several of the claims that Los Chapitos made in their letter.


  1. In 2021, a new company was registered at the Mazatlan location called Storelab. In 2022, the building underwent construction….
    That means they put a company on the OFAC list that doesn’t exist anymore?

    1. Storelab is the Mazatlan location. The OFAC lists the location in Culiacan. But clearly they’ve had several locations for years.

  2. The snitching has begone and its not gonna stop, chapitos are done they dont have what it takes to keep a low profile and let the waters calm down, they are gonna get caught in a night out just like in Puerto Vallarta, they are too slopy, shit they had one of the strongest enterprise and they are draging it to the the ground in just a couple of years, el chapo los impuso a gastar a lo pendejo sin enseñarles a invertir y ahi esta el resultado, moraleja del dia : si te esta llendo bien y quieres que tus hijos no salgan tan pendejos enseñales a trabajar por todo su dinero, no les des todo, asi para cuando les valla bien y les faltes no malgasten lo poco o mucho que les dejes.
    A estos compas lla nada los salva solo si se entregan y ratean a toda su estructura, que en realidad no seria nada dificil para ellos, lla que tienen sangre sinaloense 😂😂😂

  3. "one of the strong points is the immediate distribution, since the customer needs the product for yesterday and today, not for tomorrow or the next week"..
    ain't THAT the truth!..

  4. Money laundering at its best and the Audacity of having a government contract But at least build a better looking building you guys make millions a day cheap guys Not good business too much heat. But it's too late to overlook it.

  5. Awesome article pal, really good read!!

  6. this is the most thought-provoking post of the day, a bombshell, and it only scares up 6 comments..


  7. It's alot to take in actually.


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