Mexican methamphetamine seized in Hong Kong

In recent years, Mexican cartels have increased their presence in Asian countries

Mexican methamphetamine seized in Hong Kong
In recent years, Mexico has become one of the largest methamphetamine producers in the world - Photo: File Photo/AFP
English 19/12/2019 15:22 AFP Mexico City Actualizada 15:22
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On December 17, Hong Kong authorities announced its largest seizure of methamphetamine in a decade; 110kg of meth with an estimated street value of HK $77 million (USD $10 million), which was produced in Mexico.

The seizure shows an increasing presence of meth made by Mexican drug cartels in Asia, a region where the local "Golden Triangle" gangs traditionally dominate the production.

Customs officials said the contraband was discovered in an air cargo shipment that departed from Mexico and came via Alaska.

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Following a tip-off from overseas law enforcement, Hong Kong authorities X-rayed the shipment which was listed as being filled with cheap plastic sequins from Mexico, something officers said made little sense because such beads could easily be bought locally.

Inside they found 120 plastic lunch boxes filled with high-grade methamphetamine and packets of fabric softener used to mask the smell.

"This is the largest meth trafficking case Hong Kong Customs has detected in the past 10 years," Commander Philip Chan, from the Customs Department's Drug Bureau, told reporters.

Chan said some of the meth may have been intended for local consumption but the majority was likely headed to further destinations overseas.

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Most of Asia's meth comes from "Golden Triangle" border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and southwest China which are now pumping unprecedented quantities of synthetic drugs into the global markets.

A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than USD $60 billion a year.

One of the most successful regional cartels is "Sam Gor", a crime syndicate officials say is led by a Chinese-born Canadian citizen named Tse Chi Lop.

But drugs from Mexico, which usually caters to the North American market, are increasingly showing up across the region.

"Mexico in recent years has become a popular manufacturing place because of its geographical advantage," Chan told AFP, with cartels shipping both north and increasingly across the Pacific.

He added his officers would reach out to law enforcement agencies overseas as part of the investigation. No arrests have so far been made over the seized shipment.

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