, Mexico, Feb 10 – Mexican soldiers made an “historic” drug seizure with the discovery of over 15 tons of methamphetamines and other chemicals used to make drugs during a search of a farm in western Mexico, officials said.
The seizure is the biggest in the country’s more than five-year war against drug cartels, the Mexican army said.
General Gilberto Hernandez, commander of Mexico’s 15th Army Military Zone, called the drug seizure “historic” during a press conference, where the media was shown large drums containing the drugs.
The drug bust came during the search of the farm by troops in the town of Tlajomulco de Zuniga, where police intelligence shows the Sinaloa and Los Zetas drug cartels have been active recently.
The state of Jalisco, where the laboratory was found, has seen a hotly contested turf war between the Sinaloa cartel led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the Los Zetas, a cartel organized by military deserters.
Guzman is considered Mexico’s most powerful drug lord.
Authorities did not say which cartel owned the laboratory, which was equipped with modern facilities, and no arrests were reported.
The complex was estimated to employ about a dozen people, Hernandez said.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported recently that Mexican cartels are increasingly producing synthetic drugs instead of cocaine.
They are easier because they can be produced anywhere the chemicals are available, Antonio Mazzitelli, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, told AFP.
Unlike cocaine, which must be imported from South America, synthetic drug laboratories can be set up in areas of Mexico that allow easy access to the United States, he said.
Since 2006, the Mexican army says it has dismantled 646 labs and seized more than 45 tons of methamphetamine.
More than 50,000 people have died in rising drug violence in the past five years, according to media counts, amid a military crackdown on organized crime launched in December 2006.