Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Gus Infobae
The health emergency due to COVID-19 has caused a decrease in traffic between Mexico and the United States.
A container of fentanyl disguised as alcohol
The drug trafficking business is experiencing difficult times: the coronavirus has redoubled controls at border points. It has also reduced air traffic to a minimum.
For this reason, drug traffickers have had to find alternatives that alleviate the pressure that the pandemic has produced. In Mexico, despair has prompted the Sinaloa Cartel – one of the most powerful structures in Mexico – to hire “mules” or American smugglers.
A drug dealer who operates for people from Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada revealed to the Rio Doce journalist, Miguel Ángel Vega, that due to the temporary closure of the San Ysidro or Calexico sentry box, only US citizens can enter and leave the country.
“As gringos cross the merchandise, they charge more, and now that less (drug) is crossed and there is a shortage, the price increased, because it is more expensive to send the drug, and because the second immigration inspection in Indio has become tougher,” he said.
Faced with the difficulties of drug trafficking, the Sinaloa organization has encountered increased police surveillance on the border. “No one is crossing anything right now.”
Some, for example, mota we are going to have to throw away because it has been drying for almost three months and it is stored there, and if it is not sold soon it will spoil. The case of Chiva (very low-quality heroin) is different because it can last a long time and nothing happens, but mota does not,” said the narco.
Patty Hartman, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, said that trafficking has not stopped, but has hampered the ability of cartels to move drugs to the United States, causing accumulation of illicit drugs on both sides of the border.
Last March, it was reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain became complex. This vulnerability caused the Sinaloa Cartel to increase methamphetamine prices. On the orders of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, the crystal went from 2,500 to 15,000 pesos.
A “cook” allied with the criminal group told Río Doce that the instructions were received through a WhatsApp message that read “If you don’t obey, pay attention to the consequences.”
Although chefs typically have a one-month supply of chemicals on hand, they had difficulty replenishing stocks in those days.
“Prices are very high right now. Due to the coronavirus, there is very little distribution or import from China to Mexico City. It is difficult to obtain chemicals. You can get them, but the prices are going up for everyone,” explained one cook.
Before the world crisis, a kilogram of fentanyl was sold wholesale to 870,000 pesos. Currently, it costs up to 1,000,000 pesos.
Drug cooks speculated that the methamphetamine price ordered by “El Mayo” had more to do with opportunism than with chemical shortages. They claimed that as methamphetamine production has increased, competition from rivals has increased and profit margins have decreased.
Mexican cartels have dominated the crystalline methamphetamine trade, especially since the mid-2010s, when the United States began restricting the sale of cold medications, used to make methamphetamine in local laboratories.
This has also stimulated Mexican drug traffickers to decrease heroin production. Cartels have found it much more lucrative to manufacture synthetic drugs as it can be produced year-round with chemicals that, until recently, were cheap and readily available.
Heroin, by contrast, requires huge poppy fields, which can only be seasonally harvested by farmers.