Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mexico Seizes 30 Tons of Drug Precursors

MEXICO CITY – More than 30 tons of drug precursors were seized in Lazaro Cardenas, a port city in western Mexico, the Attorney General’s Office said.

The 30.6 tons of monomethylamine, which were packed in 160 steel barrels inside two containers, were found by the customs service, the AG’s office said.

Monomethylamine is used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant.

Michoacan has been experiencing a wave of drug-related violence blamed on the break-up of La Familia Michoacana, which was considered one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels.

La Familia Michoacana’s ideological leader, Nazario Moreno, known as “El Chayo,” was killed in a shootout with Federal Police last year.

The cartel began unraveling after Moreno’s death in December 2010, analysts told Efe.

Michoacan, where Lazaro Cardenas is located, is the home base of the Caballeros Templarios, a gang formed by former members of La Familia, which mainly smuggled synthetic drugs into the United States.

The La Familia faction led by Jesus Mendez, who was arrested last month, has been fighting the faction led by Servando Gomez and Enrique Plancarte, who formed Los Caballeros Templarios in March.

Mexico’s Pacific coast, especially the areas around Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo, which is in Colima state, is used by smugglers to bring drugs into the country.

The drugs are then smuggled via the Pacific corridor or through central Mexico into the United States, the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs.

Mexican authorities have made large seizures of drugs and chemical precursors in the region in recent years.

The biggest seizure of drug precursors ever made in Mexico occurred in August 2010, when 200 tons of banned chemicals were seized in Manzanillo.

The chemicals came from China and South Korea, officials said.

Manzanillo’s port captain had been arrested a few months before the big bust for allegedly having links to drug traffickers. EFE

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