MEXICO CITY — Mexican customs authorities said Wednesday they have seized almost 500 pounds (220 kilograms) of a chemical used to make the synthetic opioid fentanyl at a cargo terminal at the Mexico City airport.
plastic drums of fentanyl precursor came on a flight from Spain, an unusual
source for the drug. Authorities said the shipment was detected by a trained
another sign that Mexican traffickers may be having a harder time getting their
hands on fentanyl and precursors from their usual suppliers in Asia.
cartels have traditionally received bulk shipments of the powerful synthetic
opioid, or the precursor chemicals used to make it, from Asian countries in
shipping containers. But lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic appear to
have temporarily dampened that source.
Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report in March that “there are reports
that the reduction in trade from South-East Asia has limited the supply of
chemical precursors in Mexico, where it seems to have disrupted the manufacture
of methamphetamine and fentanyl.”
this year, Mexico has seized two shipments of medicinal fentanyl in glass
capsules, suggesting they may have been diverted from a lab, pharmacy or
traffickers usually perform final chemical steps to make fentanyl, cut it and
press it into counterfeit pills, and smuggle it into the United States.
Traffickers have also been mixing fentanyl into heroin to make it stronger.