The war on drug trafficking will continue to be lost on both sides of the border

The drug trafficking business will be increasingly violent as the gangs that compete for the transfer routes and world markets for fentanyl and methamphetamines compete to earn amounts of money that are much, much greater than those obtained by trafficking marijuana, heroin or cocaine .

In the United States, the demand for fentanyl and methamphetamine produced by the cartels in Mexico has been increasing. The first is produced using raw materials or chemical precursors that they buy in China and illegally import into Mexico through the Pacific ports. The second is made by combining various ingredients that are freely sold on the market with ephedrine, a drug widely used in various medicines.

According to the authorities of the United States, which is the main market for the products of Mexican drug traffickers, in 2020 some 2.56 million people used methamphetamine and some 18,000 died from overdoses. So far this year more than 64,000 people have died from an overdose of synthetic opiates, mainly fentanyl (which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine), and during the period April 2020 to April 2021 just over 100,000.

The growth of the business can be seen when comparing the kilograms of both drugs seized by the Mexican government during the first three years of the López Obrador administration with the kilograms seized during the last three years of the Enrique Peña Nieto administration.

Regarding fentanyl, between 2015 and 2018 559 kilograms were seized, while between 2019 and 2021 the amount reached 3.497 kilograms; an increase of 525.6 percent.

In the case of methamphetamine, the seizure in the 2015-2018 period was 54,521 kilograms and in 2019-2021 it increased to 124,735 kilograms or 128.8 percent.

A few days ago the Secretary of National Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, said that the drug cartels have migrated from cultivated drugs, such as opium, cocaine or marijuana, to synthetic drugs, such as the two mentioned above.

Compared to natural ones, which involve planting and harvesting marijuana, poppies and coca, with all the problems that this implies, synthetic ones are easier to make in laboratories that are becoming larger and with greater production capacity.

Also, as a business, those that are made in a laboratory are much more profitable.

According to the DEA, the US Drug Enforcement Agency, it costs a drug trafficking organization $ 6,000 for a kilogram of heroin obtained from poppies, which it then sells on the streets of that country for about $ 80,000; a good deal, hands down.

However, a kilogram of pure fentanyl costs him $ 4,150, which he then transforms into 20 kilograms of fentanyl for the retail market, selling each kilo for $ 80,000, representing a total income of $ 1.6 million; Much better business than heroin, definitely.

The cartels are making much more money than before and have more resources to corrupt officials on both sides of our country’s northern border. Thus, the war against drug trafficking will never be won by governments.

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Eduardo Ruiz-Healy

Journalist and producer

Guest column

Opinion writer, columnist, lecturer, media trainer, 35 years of experience in the media, micro-entrepreneur.

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