Major Fentanyl Shipment from China Seized in Mexico

Fentanyl seizure
File Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico (La Secretaría de Marina–SEMAR) has reported a major fentanyl seizure believed to be of multi-ton in the Mexican port city of Lázaro Cárdenas in the state of Michoacán.

The Mexican government announced the major fentanyl seizure of initially reported by local media outlets to be approximately 25.75 tons (23,368 kilograms or 51,517 pounds) of powdered fentanyl that originated in Shanghai China and was headed to Culiacán, Sinaloa, the home base for the Sinaloa Cartel. According to a government spokesperson, the seizure was a result of a joint operation led by the Mexican naval elements of the 10th naval zone and Lázaro Cárdenas customs enforcement personnel as reported by local media. Michoacán is located in western Mexico and has a stretch of coastline along the Pacific Ocean.

According to government authorities, investigators found the cargo inside a container of a Danish flagged vessel with a cargo manifest indicating that the contents consisted of Calcium Chloride. Authorities took a random sampling of the powdered substance to a specialized laboratory of Mexican Customs and the substance later tested positive for fentanyl. Officials seized a total of 931 sacks of the substance for a total weight of 23,368 kilograms. Government officials indicated that the weight of the suspected fentanyl is still being determined since the investigation is ongoing and later reports indicated that an official weight would be reported at a later date.

According to Breitbart Texas law enforcement sources, powered fentanyl can be easily mass-produced into the black-market oxycodone M-30’s known as “Mexican Oxy.” The deadly pills are often blamed for contributing to the opioid overdose crisis in the U.S. and the Sinaloa cartel has stepped up production of the product for the U.S. drug market.

Breitbart Texas reported on significant fentanyl seizures related to the Sinaloa Cartel. In April, Mexican federal investigators discovered an active lab in Culiacán. Also in April, the Mexican Army and state police seized 12,260 pills a checkpoint in Sonora. Last week, Breitbart Texas reported on the arrest of two fentanyl cooks working for the Sinaloa Cartel. In late July, an illegal immigrant from Mexico and a former municipal police officer were indicted in Amarillo, Texas, after he was arrested for transporting approximately 72 pounds of the opioid.

Earlier this week, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Arizona announced that over 1 million fentanyl pills were seized in the state in Fiscal Year 2019. The cumulative seizure easily surpasses FY2018 when approximately 380,000 pills were seized by DEA’s Phoenix Field Division and law enforcement agencies throughout the state. By comparison to FY2016, 20,000 pills were seized statewide, according to the DEA.

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


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