Mexico’s cartels rule world’s vast fentanyl market in race for huge profits


Source: The Guardian

Jorge A is Mexican businessman employed by an import-export company that specializes in the trade of tequila and agricultural and chemical products. But in January 2016, he was a long way from his home in Culiacán, capital of Sinaloa state.

Two associates accompanied him as he travelled from Shanghai to Hong Kong, Japan, and finally, India.


Mexican president wants to restrict US agents in Mexico


Source: The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tossed another hot potato to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden with a proposal that would restrict U.S. agents in Mexico and remove their diplomatic immunity.

The proposal submitted quietly this week by López Obrador would require Drug Enforcement Administration agents to hand over all information they collect to the Mexican government, and require any Mexican officials they contact to submit a full report to Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department.


Special Report: Burner phones and banking apps: Meet the Chinese ‘brokers’ laundering Mexican drug money


Source: Reuters

GUADALAJARA (Reuters) – Early next year, a Chinese businessman named Gan Xianbing will be sentenced in a Chicago courtroom for laundering just over $530,000 in Mexican cartel drug money.

Gan, 50, was convicted in February of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transfer business that whisked cartel cash from U.S. drug sales offshore. Gan has maintained his innocence; his lawyers say he was entrapped by U.S. authorities. The trial garnered few headlines and little of the public fascination reserved for kingpins of powerful narcotics syndicates that U.S. federal prosecutors said Gan served.


The search for the disappeared points to Mexico’s darkest secrets


Source: The Washington Post

EJIDO SAN ANTONIO DEL ALTO, México — Karla Quintana was on her knees, looking at some pebble-like objects she’d scooped from the desert floor. “Fragments,” one of her companions said, and everyone knew what that meant.

A decade ago, thugs from the Zetas cartel had brought their victims to this windswept patch of turf. They’d hacked them to pieces and roasted them until the bones exploded. The remains were dumped in shallow, unmarked graves.


U.S. arrest of former Mexican defense chief tests anti-drug alliance


The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — During the years that Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos spent as Mexico’s defense secretary, he would sometimes brag about the partnership he helped build with American officials.

“The only thing that I am sure of is that the bilateral, military-to-military and defense-to-defense relationship between Mexico and the United States will continue to strengthen more and more,” Cienfuegos told Craig Deare, a former assistant U.S. defense attache in Mexico and a military historian, before leaving office in late 2018.


Who Was ‘El Padrino,’ Godfather to Drug Cartel? Mexico’s Defense Chief, U.S. Says


Source: The New York Times

MEXICO CITY — American law enforcement agents were listening in as Mexican cartel members chattered on a wiretap, talking about a powerful, shadowy figure known as El Padrino, or The Godfather.

Agents had been closing in on him for months, suspecting that this central figure in the drug trade was a high-ranking official in the Mexican military.


Under the U.S.-Mexico border, miles of tunnels worth millions of dollars — to traffickers


Source: The Washington Post

NOGALES, Mexico — The cocaine travels north through the sewer. Sometimes the traffickers send it floating in bags on a river of wastewater. Sometimes they crawl with it through mud and human excrement until they hit U.S. soil.

As the U.S. border wall rose just north of this city, the drug trade here has been driven underground. Mexican and U.S. patrols have found tunnel after tunnel drilled into an 80-year-old drainage system that connects the two countries, 15 feet below the earth’s surface.’


Mexico’s drug war leaves 39,000 unidentified bodies in its morgues


Source: The Gaurdian

Mexico’s militarised crackdown on organised crime has left nearly 39,000 unidentified bodies in the country’s morgues, which are often unable to handle the volume of corpses brought in for autopsies.

A new investigation by the investigative NGO Quinto Elemento Labs found that an alarming number of people were simply buried in common graves without proper postmortems. Some were left in funeral homes and more than 2,500 bodies were given to medical schools.


Mexico sees fentanyl seizures up 465%, denies making drug


Source: ABC News

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities say seizures of the synthetic opioid fentanyl so far this year are 465% higher than in 2019, rising to almost 2,300 pounds (1,040 kilograms) from around 405 pounds ( 184 kilograms) last year, but progress against another big Mexican export to the U.S. market — methamphetamines — is slower.

The Defense Department said seizures of meth in Mexico rose by only 32.8% between Jan. 1 and Sept. 16, but busts of meth labs dropped 51% compared to the same period of last year.


Coronavirus disrupting U.S.-Mexico action against meth labs, says U.S. Attorney General


Source: Rueters

The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted joint U.S.-Mexico actions against methamphetamine labs operated by Mexican cartels, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday.

Barr made two trips to Mexico in December and January, which he said led to greater cooperation between the two nations in combating Mexican drugs cartels, including a step up in extraditions of gang leaders.