20 | ABR | 2019
Mexican cartels sell up to 15 types of drugs online
Photo: Valente Rosas/EL UNIVERSAL

Mexican cartels sell up to 15 types of drugs online

Mexico City
Manuel Espino and Pedro Villa y Caña
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Federal Police warns of a rapid development and diversification of illegal online market in Mexico

A report by the Anti-Drug Division of Mexico’s Federal Police showed that 15 different types of synthetic drugs, including LSD, mescaline, proscaline, and DOC, are currently being sold in the country, with prices ranging from MXN$130 a piece to MXN$200 per gram, depending on the solicited substance.

On April, in Mexico City, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) alerted of the increase in drug sales online, and that over the past ten years, over 700 new psychoactive and deadly substances have been detected, 400 of which are being bought and sold in the darknet.

The countries participating in the CICAD concluded that the use of information technology for illegal trade in the cyberspace was a growing trend.

The Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States (DEA) identified some of the cartels that use the darknet for trading synthetic drugs in the USA, which are the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, Los Zetas, and the Gulf cartel.


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The profile of the average Mexican consumer is people between 17 and 32 years of age, the so-called millennials, with no criminal records, a medium to high socioeconomic status, and with enough technological knowledge to hide their identities online.

According to the document, these young people pay for their drugs with a debit or credit card, online transfer, money transmitters, and crypto-currencies. Cash payments are very rare.

The product is often shipped through delivery service companies. When the dealers opt for hand delivery, they do so in vehicles, malls, bakeries, or subway stations. The drugs are wrapped in tickets or leaves, and sealed in a hermetic bags that are often vacuum sealed.

The Anti-Drug Division of the Federal Police reports that the criminal groups operate in Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Querétaro, Puebla, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Sinaloa, and Quintana Roo.

Shipments are issued from these states to every city in the Mexican Republic, and even in other countries like the US, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.

The chemical ingredients used to make capsules, pills, and powder come from clandestine laboratories operating in China, Spain, and Holland, where the newest and most popular psychoactive substances are fabricated.


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Administrators from drug-selling websites usually operate by contacting clients through private Facebook messages, where they state their available products and prices. Once the client selects a substance, the seller requests his or her address, phone number, and full name in order to ship the product. In turn, the dealer gives out a bank account number for the deposit and requests a photo of the payment receipt. Thereon, the dealer sends a tracking number or an image with the proof of mailing; when the delivery is personal, they request a description of physical traits and clothing.

When the product is shipped through delivery services, it is packed with discretion, ensuring it reaches its destination in one or two days.

If for any reason the product is held in customs, the online sellers forward the product to the client, free of cost.

The Federal Police warns of a rapid development and diversification of the illegal online market in Mexico, and the fact that the doses are small makes it easy for the drugs to go undetected, according to their report on new psychoactive substances.

Leopoldo Rivera Rivera, chairman of the Mexican Association for the Study of Cannabis (AMECA), said that the drug business is unlikely to stop, given that new chemical products are created day by day. He suggests that prohibition is not the best way to address the problem; instead, he urged the creation of new regulatory frameworks to include every narcotic drug, which would deeply affect the illegal market that criminal groups use to make a profit.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Rivera considered that the emergence of new drugs was the result of the prohibition against well-known substances such as cocaine, or marihuana, which is why the Mexican government should create a legal framework to regulate these drugs.


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