BC -Details of Sinaloa Cartel's massive narcolab discovery earlier this month

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BC -Details of Sinaloa Cartel's massive narcolab discovery earlier this month


Monday, September 14, 2020 01:00 PM
Zeta Investigations

Elements of the State Investigation Agency did not imagine the size and capacity of the drug laboratory located in the wild and desert zone of Mexicali, when in the area, as part of an investigation of crimes of the common jurisdiction, they carried out an inspection. The operation carried out in the southern part of the Bypass to Tijuana, about 28 kilometers away from the border line between Mexico and the United States, culminated in the discovery of one of the largest drug laboratories detected in the State Capital in recent years. years, when eight tons of precursors were found. According to the latest DEA report, this narcotic has a price of around $ 300 and $ 700 per ounce on the streets of the neighboring country to the North, depending on its distance and purity.

Several kilometers driving through gaps, loose earth and "duninous" terrain are required to cross to locate the drug laboratory discovered by elements of the Mexicali State Investigation Agency, who entered the mountainous area located south of the Ejido Heriberto Jara in search of known as "car cemeteries", whose name originates from the "skeletons" of the units dismantled and abandoned by low-level criminals.

Not far from the stone materials extraction area, the drug laboratory was located, which was initially said to have around eight tons of precursors for the production of methamphetamine, but after data cleaning carried out by experts and police from the The Attorney General's Office (FGE), the figure stood at three tons of chemicals and just over 3,000 liters of various liquids.

A source from the Mesa de Seguridad para la Construcción de la Paz commented that it is most likely the largest documented narcotics production facility in Mexicali, simply by observing the containers and the material located.

All the sources consulted agree on one statement: the laboratory must belong to the Sinaloa Cartel.

And it is that installing a property of this magnitude in the State Capital is unthinkable for other criminal groups, since the predominant mafia activities throughout the municipality correspond to the group led by Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada and "Los Chapitos", Iván Archivaldo and Alfredo Guzmán Salazar; Mexicali is the only town outside the bloody conflict between the Sinaloa, Arellano Félix (CAF) and Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) cartels.

The setback to organized crime perpetrated by elements of the FGE, the Attorney General's Office (FGR), the National Guard and the Mexican Army, is the second of its kind in Mexicali, since only on August 29, in the Benito Juárez Ejido, elements of the State Security and Investigation Guard (GESI) dismantled another drug laboratory, but with incomparable dimensions, since it had only a few plastic containers with precursors for methamphetamine, a bag of caustic soda and various chemicals. It also had gas burners, containers, and a butane tank.

Similarly, on May 25, the police and military corporations coordinated to strike another blow at the Sinaloa Cartel, by “ bursting ” a warehouse on Reforma Street, in Ensenada, which concluded on June with the dismantling of a laboratory of drugs in Tecate, where they seized precursors to manufacture more than a ton of methamphetamine, according to the accounts carried out by the authorities themselves.


Although the FGE established that the discovery was made through intelligence work, the reality is that FGE investigators were carrying out other types of procedures inherent to their functions when they discovered the narcotics production center located south of the Mexicali Bypass.

The finding was made known to the media on the afternoon of Saturday, September 5, but in reality it was found three days earlier, at the stroke of two in the afternoon.

The terrain is totally rugged. Chamizos and land is the only thing observed in the vicinity, having the mountains adjacent to the Laguna Salada as the only reference method. On the slopes of one of the hills the narcotics laboratory was located, which used a kind of cardboard shadow to camouflage itself with the physical conditions of the area, and thus not be detected with drones or other types of aerial vehicles.

The gap blurs as one advances through the complicated path; to one side you can see what appears to be a makeshift camp and some beer cans that confirm the presence of people in the area.

Upon discovering it, elements of the State Investigation Agency (AEI) reported the events to colleagues from various corporations, and in a short time, both the GESI, the National Guard, the Army and the FGR, came to the site to protect it and process the scene.

The laboratory could be divided into five camps with slight distances where - according to the FGR inventory - the following were located:

-500 kilograms of Sodium Cyanide
- One and a half tons of Zinc Sulfate
- An open caustic soda weighing 400 kilograms
- 100 kilograms of Sodium Carbonate
- 350 kilograms of Phenyl Acetic Acid
- 800 liters of Hydrochloric Acid
- 100 liters of Nitric Acid
- 2 thousand liters of Benzyl Chloride
- 150 liters of acetone.

GESI also identified:

-12 buckets with a capacity of 20 liters with an indeterminate chemical mixture that seems to be distilled and finished
- A metallic condenser
- 10 gas tanks
- A chemical mixer
- A 30 foot pool
- 15 bags of caustic soda
- A reactor with a condenser
- A metallic reactor.

The first official report from local authorities far exceeded the one provided by the FGR, since it spoke of eight tons of precursors and up to 5,000 liters of other undefined liquids, but the FGR carried out the last official inventory and decreased the figure.

According to the GESI, the insured was:

Place A:

- 305 sacks of 25 kilos each of Zinc Sulfate with a total weight of 7 thousand 625 kilos (at the entrance of the laboratory)
- A container of approximately one cubic meter, with a round solid substance (Sodium Cyanide)
- 15 brown cardboard sacks, 25 kilos each, weighing 375 kilos with whitish Sodium Hydroxide flakes
- 8 brown cardboard sacks with 22.5 kilos each, weighing 180 kilos, containing Sodium Carbonate
- 15 brown cardboard sacks of 20 kilos each, weighing 300 kilos, containing Tartaric Acid
- 3 drums with a total of 180 liters of a yellowish liquid called Benzyl Chloride.

Place B:

- 11 green drums with a capacity of 200 liters, giving a total of 2,200 liters with various amounts of Hydrochloric Acid
- A 200 liter black drum of Nitric Acid
- 13 blue drums, with a capacity of 200 liters, giving a total of 2,600 liters of acetone
- 4 brown tubs each containing Benzyl Chloride
- 5 drums of 60 liters capacity, whose liquid produced a total of 300 liters of Benzyl Chloride

Place C:

- A container with mechanical agitation containing Benzyl Chloride.

Place D:

- 3 drums filled with 200 liters with Benzyl Chloride
- 4 reactors of various sizes
-7 sacks of 25 kilos with a total weight of 175 kilos of Zinc Sulfate
- A 20 liter bucket with Benzyl Chloride.

Place E:

- A brown tub with Sodium Cyanide
- 3 brown tubs, full of Phenylacetic Acid
- A reactor
- 8 sacks of 25 kilograms with a total weight of 200 kilos of Sodium Hydroxide.

There were no arrests at the site, but a 1994 Geo Trucks brand Tracker vehicle was located , blue, series 2CNBE18U5R6945632 and without license plates, which contained a report of theft from September 2 of this year, in the name of Felipe de Jesús González Lamas, resident of Avenida Río Casas Grandes, Colonia Villa Verde de Mexicali, about whom no further information has been sought by the authorities.


According to the National Drug Threat Assessment of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) presented in December 2019 - the last general report carried out by the Agency - it establishes that more than 80% of the drug Synthetic that is consumed in the US comes from clandestine laboratories in Mexico.

Said report establishes that 95% of the seizures of synthetic drugs take place in the Northwest border of Mexico, which suggests that there is a marked tendency to traffic this type of drugs through this area.

A source from the Mesa de Seguridad para la Construcción de la Paz commented that it is much less risky to produce drugs 10, 20 or 30 kilometers from the border, than to do it in entities such as Sinaloa, Guerrero, Michoacán or Durango, where distances are They become a huge risk for criminal groups in their quest to traffic narcotics, since they have to go through several military checkpoints. For this reason, these improvised production buildings have been detected in remote areas or areas with difficult access.

In addition to the two laboratories mentioned, it is important to remember the one that the Mexican Army discovered in August 2018, in La Rumorosa, in Tecate, which during the year of operation that it apparently maintained, was able to produce up to 73 tons of narcotic.

This methamphetamine production center is the largest detected in Baja California and was located about 26 kilometers from the border line -3 kilometers less than the one located in Mexicali-. At that time, the Army considered that the entire equipment would have a value of 3 million dollars, an investment that was surely recovered immediately by the Sinaloa criminal organization.

Also, “in September 2018, the Mexican authorities located and secured the first alleged clandestine operation to grind carfentanil pills in Mexico in the border city of Mexicali. A Bulgarian biochemist and his Mexican co-conspirator, both allegedly associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, were arrested during the operation. The dismantling of this laboratory led to the seizure of 20,000 allegedly counterfeit carfentanil pills and a pill press. The Bulgarian biochemist is also accused, along with a second Mexican national associate, of conspiring to distribute carfentanil throughout the United States, ”according to the National Drug Threat Assessment presented by the United States Anti-Drug Force in January 2020.

The same DEA report states that the production of synthetic drugs in North America has decreased directly as the production of methamphetamine in Mexico increases. It points out that from 2012 to 2018, drug laboratories in the neighboring country of the North were reduced by 88% (from 13,657 to 1,568), and in the last year, 85% of the production centers in the United States had capacities production of 2 oz. maximum.

This does not translate into less consumption, since the report states that from 2005 to 2017 - the latest official public data - deaths from synthetic drug use increased by 543%, maintaining a direct constant from 1,608 to 10,333 deaths.

Authorities of the main drug consumer in the world establish that “with the increase in availability of products and foreign sources of methamphetamine from Mexico, national production will continue to decrease and most of the seized laboratories will probably remain in areas further away from the source of supply. and closer to the SWB - the Southwest border, for its acronym in English- ”.

The laboratory located in Mexicali would be 29 kilometers from the border line, so it would only have to cross the city to reach its first challenge in one of the checkpoints, or else, cross the desert.

Coinciding with this statement, an increase in conversion laboratories was detected in the United States, which aim to restore its solid characteristics to methamphetamine, since one of the most popular methods to circumvent the border authorities is to dissolve it in liquid. The DEA has spotted conversion labs from California to Atlanta.