Russian Fugitive Arrested in Mexican Border City Fentanyl Lab

Fentanyl is a potent prescription painkiller which is extremely addictive, leading people to seek out illegal copycat versions

Mexican police discovered an active fentanyl lab in Mexicali, Baja California, on Monday.

The discovery of the active drug lab was the result of an ongoing investigation by the State Preventive Police (PEP) for at least six months, according to local media. Mexicali sits on the border opposite Calexico, California.

The operation in the San Marcos section of Mexicali resulted in the arrests of two suspects–Iván Arredondo Ramírez, 50, from Caborca, Sonora; and Anton Petrov Kulkini, 48, originally from Russia and wanted by U.S. authorities. A total of 20,000 fentanyl pills were discovered along with equipment and chemical precursors.

Fentanyl is often referred to as “synthetic heroin” and is blamed in part for the opioid overdose crisis in the United States. Officials of the Preventive State Police handed over custody of the drug lab case to the Federal Attorney General’s Office. The seizure was believed bound for the U.S. markets as part of an international trafficking effort.

The two detainees were handed over to the Federal Public Ministry for criminal charges and to determine the immigration status of Kulkini, a fugitive from U.S. justice. According to authorities, the operation was part of “Cruzada por la Seguridad, tarea de todos” (“Crusade for Security, everyone’s task”), which is a program headed by Baja California Governor Francisco Arturo Vega de Lamadrid.

During a press conference, State Attorney General Perla del Socorro Ibarra denied that Baja California has become a producer of illicit drugs amid recent lab discoveries and other seizures.

At the end of August, Breitbart Texas reported on the 350-pound meth seizure at an active lab in Tijuana. On August 25, the Mexican Navy discovered a methamphetamine lab with four tons of product in Tecate, directly across the border from Jacumba Hot Springs, California. In mid-August, the Mexican Army made two different seizures totaling 2,700 pounds of illicit drugs in Ensenada.

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.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at robertrarce@gmail.com

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