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Mexican Navy seizes 25 tons of fentanyl from China in single raid

A table full of fentanyl and other designer drugs seized by CBP sit on display at the International Mail Facility in Chicago, Illinois, November 28, 2017, as Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is given a tour of CBP operations. (Kris Grogan/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
August 27, 2019

Mexican government authorities reported a seizure of approximately 25.75 tons of powdered fentanyl in the port city of Lázaro Cárdenas, in the western Mexican state of Michoacán — and it came from China.

The Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico intercepted the fentanyl shipment which originated from Shanghai, China and was bound for the Sinaloa Cartel home base of Culiacán, Sinaloa, as reported by local media outlet Tobasco Hoy on Saturday.

Investigators discovered the fentanyl aboard a Danish vessel in a cargo container whose manifest indicated a shipment of calcium chloride.

When the Mexican Customs laboratory tested a sample of the contents, investigators found the powdered substance tested positive for fentanyl. The customs investigators went on to seize 931 sacks of the same substance, amounting to a weight of 23,368 kilograms (about 25.75 tons). Initial reports on the total weight of seizure are still only an estimate as authorities are still determining the total amount of captured fentanyl powder.

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The seizure was the result of joint efforts by the Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico and customs enforcement members from Lázaro Cárdenas.

The most recent seizure comes just days after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced a cumulative seizure of over a million illicitly created fentanyl pills, by the DEA’s Phoenix Field Office and various Arizona law enforcement agencies over the course of the 2019 fiscal year. The 1,138,288 pills are nearly triple the 380,000 fentanyl pill seizures estimated in fiscal year 2018. The high yield of captured fentanyl is an even further increase over just 20,000 fentanyl pills seized within the state of Arizona in the 2016 fiscal year.

Breitbart News’ Texas news bureau reported the dismantling of a Sinoloa Cartel lab fentanyl pill lab in Northwest Culiacán, Sinaloa last week. Some 2,500 fentanyl pills were discovered at the lab and authorities seized a pill press used to make “M-30s” or “Mexican Oxy” derived from the powdered fentanyl.

Investigators also determined the lab to be a training site for other cartel drug manufacturers. Breitbart reports that fentanyl has become a favored drug of production, lucrative to the Sinoloa Cartel due to its easy production and accessible trafficking routes across the Mexican border into the U.S.

In April, Mexican media outlet Excelsior reported significant fentanyl seizures related to the Sinoloa Cartel and discovered an active Sinoloa Cartel fentanyl lab, seizing 33,000 pills and 25 pounds of powdered fentanyl in the process. Mexican government authorities at the time also found 13 pounds of heroin and chemical precursors at the cartel lab.

Fentanyl has been determined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine and has been a major contributor to opioid deaths in the United States.