The Federal District “Sinaloa Cartel“, one of the most powerful drug trafficking groups in the world, has extended its methamphetamine production operations to Guatemala, where it had ties to alleged drug trafficker who was the most important that operated in the Central American country captured this year.
The group led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has taken advantage of the hilly and mountainous geography of Guatemala to install some clandestine laboratories which produce synthetic drugs, such as manufactured in Mexico, is believed to be almost entirely exported to the United States, a senior U.S. law enforcement in Mexico City said. “Sinaloa is the main group there that is producing methamphetamine,” said the official, not authorized to be identified by security reasons.
He added that so far no evidence that the ‘Sinaloa Cartel’ produced methamphetamine in other Central American countries except Guatemala. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Guatemala, Carlos Menocal, confirmed the presence the ‘Sinaloa Cartel’ in their country because of some synthetic drug seizures and two clandestine location near the border with Mexico. He said he also found links to “El Chapo” Guzman and Juan Alberto Ortiz Lopez, alias ” Chamal “, was arrested in March 2011, in western Guatemala and the United States considered the most important drug trafficker operating in that nation.
“What we found is that ‘Chamal’ does have links with the ‘Sinaloa Cartel’ he sells to ‘El Chapo’, which is his main customer, “said Menocal. Only in December, Mexico won five major seizures of monomethylamine, a chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine, which total 674.7 tonnes, more than half of the 1,200 tons of precursors that have been seized in the country. All five are alleged shipments being sent to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala..
“What is surprising is that five shipments were detected, because who knows how many have already passed. One sees only the tip of the iceberg when it leaves the Sea, “he said to the regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The U.S. official said it was unclear who owned the cargo. The Mexican authorities have reported no potential chemical property and the Attorney General’s Office, responsible for investigations on drug trafficking in Mexico, did not respond to requests from the AP to discuss the case.
The minister Interior of Guatemala reported that some of the evidence for the presence of the Sinaloa cartel gave them the location in recent months of two synthetic drug laboratories and produced in San Marcos, a region of western Guatemala near the border with Mexico.
Menocal said they have found that the chemical precursors used to make methamphetamine from Mexico. In laboratories, were traces of phenylacetic acid. “The intelligence agencies have done analysis and Guatemala has been established that the laboratories were run by Mexicans, they came to guide the processes of drug development, came to guide Mexican chemical formulas, the Mexican population speaks on the coming and going to do the job, “he said.
The National Civil Police of Guatemala reported this week that so far in 2011 have seized 7.847 barrels. Weight was not reported, although there are barrels of standard size for these products and often have 208 liters, seizures suggest that the country could even have been higher than what has been achieved by Mexico. Menocal said few were seized in 2010 2, 000 barrels.
In recent months, it was revealed that the Sinaloa cartel seemed to be expanding on a massive level of methamphetamine production in Mexico, but so far no known public information which manufactured the synthetic drug in Guatemala.
The U.S. official said also to manufacture methamphetamine, precursors may be moving into Mexico from Guatemala. “The way that they can use is to bring (the chemical) through the southern border or actually turn it into methamphetamine in the area near the border,” he said. Depends on the type of chemicals used is the amount of methamphetamine that could occur. Steve Preisler, an industrial chemist who wrote the book “Secrets of Methamphetamine production,” he said in the case of monomethylamine, the substance seized in Mexico – you only need one hand to produce phenylacetone similar about the same amount of methamphetamine.
Under this logic, seized 674.7 tons of monomethylamine in December in Mexico could be transformed using a similar measure other chemicals in virtually the same tons of methamphetamine, a huge amount of records on seizures of synthetic drugs. In its World Report 2011, the UNODC said that after it was reported that in 2001 the confiscation of 33 tons of methamphetamine in the world for 2009 were 65 tons.
Mazzitelli said that over the years has been a reported increase in seizures of precursors both in Mexico and Central America. But the increase in seizures of both precursors and of clandestine laboratories, may not necessarily indicate an increase in methamphetamine production, but perhaps a better job of the authorities.
“Perhaps the amount you are entering has not changed, but now they (authorities) have identified the problem and are going after him and so now we’re looking up seizures,” the U.S. official said.
The seizure of clandestine laboratories increased from 51 in 2008 to 221 in 2009. By mid-2010 were 160 laboratories. According Mazzitelli there are still several phenomena that have not been identified. “What we still do not explain is what markets are all that potential production of synthetic drugs, methamphetamine, probably because the U.S. market synthetic drugs received from Mexico and Central America, but also produces its synthetic drugs, “he said.
The United States still views Mexico as the main source of supply of methamphetamine. The price of a gram of methamphetamine was estimated at $ 105 until September 2010, as reported by U.S. authorities.
- Mexico gang seen ramping up meth in Guatemala (seattletimes.nwsource.com)