Sinaloa Cartel Uses Pharmaceutical Tablet Presses In The Production Of Fentanyl Pills

Latin America World

“Char” for Borderland Beat 

This article was translated and reposted from RIODOCE 

In the last four years and eight months, the Mexican Army has seized 33 tableting machines used in the production of fentanyl pills from the Sinaloa Cartel, which are the same as those used in the pharmaceutical sector to manufacture tablets of different sizes, shapes and presentations.
According to El Universal, so far in 2023, military authorities have managed to seize eight of these machines; and since 2019 to date they have seized 33, which were secured in 21 drug laboratories dismantled in Sinaloa, and one in Tijuana, Baja California.
In said synthetic drug manufacturing centers, the Army also managed to secure 619 kilos of fentanyl, 3 million 769 thousand 628 pills, 8 kilos of heroin, 229 kilos of methamphetamine, one kilo of cocaine and 22 properties, according to the newspaper, according to data from the Sedena.
The newspaper also interviewed chemist Jorge Cardenas, who explained that these machines are necessary for the tablets to contain the exact amount of fentanyl. “He explains that a hopper, that is, a 100-kilo container, can carry less than one kilo of fentanyl and the rest are excipients, additives and inert material, such as talcum powder”. On the other hand, he points out that 500,000 pills are obtained from one kilo of fentanyl powder.
In the article, the specialist points out that these machines, programmed to mix the solids, are not authorized in Mexico, so they must be acquired by a pharmaceutical company, and that they can be brought from countries such as China.
El Universal also interviewed Manuel Balcázar, associate researcher at the Center for Studies on Security, Intelligence and Governance of the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), who points out that drug trafficking organizations are becoming more fentanyl manufacturers in the country.
“Even if there were restrictions, second-hand markets, stolen or contraband products could be obtained and installed,” he said.
He added that “criminals are exporting drugs to the United States with the networks they already have because of the ease of being able to move without being detected through traditional mechanisms.
He pointed out that the model is changing, after the criminal groups observed that the profit is less and less in natural drugs and more in synthetic drugs”.
For his part, Artemio Cantú, a retired DEA agent, pointed out to the media “that a basic tablet maker does not need a very large space, so the pills can be made in an apartment or house”.