Precursor chemicals are used for the illegal manufacture of narcotics and psychoactive substances. However, they also have legitimate commercial applications and are used legally in consumer products such as medicines and fragrances, as well as for industrial processes. One example of this is phenylacetic acid, which is legally used to produce penicillin and cleaning solutions but can also be used to illegally manufacture methamphetamines.
A former special agent for the DEA, Derek Maltz, told One News Now that China’s participation in the drug crisis that is killing people around world, particularly in America, is an “underreported story” that has been going on for many years.
He said that while the DEA did a great job of stunting the ability of what he termed “mom and pop” labs in the U.S. to make meth, drug kingpins in Mexico spotted an opportunity to make a lot of money, so they began bringing significant quantities of precursor chemicals from China and other Asian countries into Mexican ports, from which point they went on to be used to make street drugs in labs around the country.
"Cartels started dominating the methamphetamine production business inside of Mexico," he said. "Cartels like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel built super-labs in Mexico to produce massive amounts of methamphetamines, up to seven tons of meth every three days."
The synthetic drug market is highly profitable for them, he says, pointing out that China is home to more than 150,000 chemical companies and that the country is earning millions of dollars by selling “these poisons.”
They are also making a lot of money by selling massive amounts of fentanyl to Mexican cartels, and some Americans are even managing to buy some of these chemicals from websites in China and having them shipped directly to their homes.
In addition, the Chinese are helping the money laundering for these cartels in the U.S. as law enforcement has a far more difficult time penetrating ethnic Chinese groups than the Mexican ones, given the high number of Spanish-speaking informants used by law enforcement.
Maltz believes that money may not be the only motivation behind China’s actions, saying: “America is a big adversary to China, so it’s not far-fetched to think the Chinese are purposely killing Americans and making millions of dollars while doing it.”
Wuhan will forever be associated with coronavirus, but prior to the pandemic, it was known for producing the chemicals that are needed for fentanyl and other opioids. According to the L.A. Times, Mexican drug cartels were their biggest customers.
After the virus emerged and disrupted the fentanyl supply chain, however, Mexican drug traffickers saw their profits take a huge hit, and street drug prices across America started climbing. Lockdowns, travel bans, and other types of virus containment efforts have crippled the narcotics trade, and the Mexican production of meth and fentanyl was particularly hard hit as they were unable to get the precursor chemicals that usually arrive via plane or cargo ship from China.
In addition, new restrictions on entering the U.S. have been another big roadblock for the Mexican drug cartels, and the resulting loss of income is said to be contributing to escalating violence in Mexico, where the monthly homicide figures reached a two-year high in March. As pandemic-related lockdowns start being lifted, however, the illegal drug trade will soon be in full swing once again.
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