A major cartel methamphetamine lab was discovered near the U.S.-Mexico border approximately 20 miles south of California in a Mexican resort city. Mexican authorities discovered the lab in Rosarito, a destination popular with U.S. tourists.
Elements of the State Preventative Police located the drug lab on March 1, 2018. The cartel facility was inside a separate section of a small shop that made decorative lamps. At least 235 kilos of meth (approximately 518 pounds) were discovered inside the shop which was being used to house the active drug lab.
Due to a large amount of meth located inside the shop, elements of the Mexican army and State Police arrived at the location to secure the crime scene until investigators could obtain the proper authorization to complete a search of the shop. The Mexican Army and State Police remained at the shop for several hours providing security. According to media reports, the location of the drug lab was next to a private school.
A total of three suspects were arrested including the suspected “meth cook.” Authorities revealed that the quantity of the meth seized was going to be distributed to the local drug distributors for street sales and the rest was heading north to the U.S. drug markets.
Like many parts of Mexico, the border city of Rosarito has not been spared from the cartel violence which is spreading throughout many parts of the country. Rosarito was once known for its beaches and dance clubs and was a very popular destination for young people from the United States—especially during long holiday weekends. Within the last couple of years, Rosarito has been experiencing a spike in cartel-related executions mainly driven by rival cartels and affiliated gangs fighting over lucrative street-level sales of illicit drugs. The main street drug being blamed for these turf battles is meth—according to local law enforcement contacts who spoke to Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity.
Due to the elevated levels of violence and general crime in Rosarito, the mayor, Mirna Rincón Vargas, recently ordered a reorganization of police management to improve the security situation in the city.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)