MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican law enforcement agencies said Monday they seized over 40 tons of methamphetamine at the biggest drug lab found during the current administration.
The Mexican navy said Monday that the lab was located in Quiriego, a township in a remote part of the northern border state of Sonora.
It said the 91,000 pounds (41,310 kilograms) of meth found there was equivalent to about half of the 162,000 pounds of the drug Mexico has seized all year so far. Another 28,000 pounds (12,705 kilograms) of meth chemicals were found, the navy said.
Photos distributed by the navy showed a series of large metal boilers and chemical reactors arranged in a line amid the brush and low trees of the site, which was visible from the air. Over 200 centrifuges, boilers and condensing chambers were discovered, according to the navy.
The navy said its personnel destroyed the equipment by blowing it. The Navy said the raid Thursday involved helicopters and suggested the meth was bound for export to Europe, Asia and the United States. But Mexico also has a big problem with domestic use of meth.
The 72 boilers indicated the facility was capable of producing multiple times the amount of drugs than the second-biggest meth lab uncovered during the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. That lab, in neighboring Sinaloa state, had 13 boilers.
López Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1 2018, frequently claims that Mexicans are culturally immune to drug addiction.
A year ago, soldiers seized more than a half-million fentanyl pills in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa state, in what the army at the time described as the largest synthetic drug lab found to date.
Soldiers found almost 630,000 pills that appeared to contain the synthetic opioid fentanyl, the army said. They also reported seizing 282 pounds (128 kilograms) of powdered fentanyl and about 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of suspected methamphetamine.
Two days later, the Mexican army seized almost 1,400 liters of liquid methamphetamines and nearly a half-ton of solid crystal meth, which it said at the time was the biggest seizure of meth in a year.
Troops found the drugs at a half-finished house in the town of Angostura, Sinaloa. The state is home to the drug cartel of the same name.
Previously, most big meth labs had been found in Sinaloa, but it appears the increasingly violent state of Sonora has become a center of production, and not just a smuggling route.
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