Mexican president says he has proof of fentanyl smuggling from China

Mexico City, May 5 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that he has proof that fentanyl is being smuggled into his country from China, contrary to Beijing’s denials.

“We have the evidence. A cargo arrived from a port in China, a container, at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan (state), then all the laboratory analysis was done and very respectfully, we are going to send this information,” he said during his daily morning press conference.

The Mexican president, commonly known as AMLO, said he will send a second letter to Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping asking for assistance in combating the illegal trade in fentanyl, which is blamed for 100,000 deaths a year in the United States.

After the first missive, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning denied the existence of illegal fentanyl trafficking between China and Mexico.

“A few days ago,” AMLO told reporters, Mexican authorities found fentanyl and methamphetamines hidden in a shipment of more than 20 tons of epoxy resin.

The president then called the navy secretary, Adm. Jose Rafael Ojeda, to the podium to provide the details.

A container holding 600 tubs of resin was loaded aboard a ship in Qingdao, China, and the vessel made a stop in the South Korean port of Busan en route to Lazaro Cardenas, the admiral said.

“The product arrives contaminated with fentanyl and methamphetamine,” Ojeda said.

AMLO said that he will ask Xi “if it is possible that they impede that these chemicals leave from their ports, that they only allow exit of substances or fentanyl used for medical purposes, which is not the case that we detected.”

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid prescribed for pain and as an anesthetic, is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine.

“We are going to send a letter to the president of China with this information, in a very respectful – a very much respectful – way, reiterating the request that they help us with the information because this would allow us to have more control,” AMLO said.

He noted that his first message to Xi followed a meeting with visiting US lawmakers who cited a report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alleging that cartels are producing fentanyl in Mexico using chemicals obtained from China.

“They came from the two parties, from the Republican Party and from the Democratic Party, we met and they asked me for us to intervene with the government of China, to control the arrival of fentanyl from Asia,” the Mexican president said.

While acceding to that request, AMLO reacted with indignation when other Republican legislators called for designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations and deploying the US military south of the border.

EFE ppc/dr

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