By KELIN DILLON
According to a new report from U.S. intelligence, Mexican cartels have begun sponsoring chemistry degrees for some of their members in an effort to expand fentanyl production, attempting to keep up with the high demand for the drug – which has now supposedly passed both heroin and cocaine in recreational use.
The intel likewise revealed that these new university graduates then go on to teach their fellow cartel members about the chemistry behind fentanyl production, says the International Center for Research and Analysis against Maritime Drug Trafficking, further disseminating this knowledge across the organizations.
An additional report released last March by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) went on to reveal that some of Mexico’s most notorious cartels – the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) – purportedly mix their fentanyl supply with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana to create more intense effects and increase consumption rates, which subsequently boosts sales.
While most of fentanyl produced in Mexico is later trafficked to the United States, none of the production would be possible without key chemical materials sourced from China and India that supposedly enter the country through its Pacific ports.
Manzanillo, Colima, and Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán have both been identified by the United Nations Office Against Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as two of the main ports where the aforementioned chemicals enter Mexico, before being transported to illicit warehouses and later funneled to laboratories across the country to produce fentanyl.
“After the precursors are converted into pure fentanyl, the stash is further combined with counterfeit prescription pills,” read the International Center for Research and Analysis against Maritime Drug Trafficking report. “Fentanyl in its different forms is then dispatched together with other drugs, although it is not mixed with them. These shipments with multiple types of drugs are transported by land, air or sea to the border with the United States.”
“Another part of the illicit drug is trafficked through the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, through the use of go fast boats, bound for the ports of Tijuana and San Diego, for consumption in the illegal drug market in the United States,” continued the International Center for Research and Analysis against Maritime Drug Trafficking, noting that 75 percent of all trafficked fentanyl allegedly passes through the Tijuana-San Diego border.
While the International Center for Research and Analysis against Maritime Drug Trafficking has identified six origin destinations and 15 trafficking paths between Mexico and the United States, the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) has only identified five international fentanyl tracking routes, two of which pass through Mexico to the United States.
“As the country’s criminality becomes increasingly fragmented, these groups turn to subcontractors throughout the distribution chain to help them with the development of their illicit activities,” concluded the INCB.