Mexico meth raid yields $205 million in U.S. cash
H-ctor Tobar and Carlos Mart–nez,
Times Staff Writers
March 17, 2007Authorities say it's the largest drug money haul in history and reflects a vast global trade
MEXICO CITY — Authorities confiscated more than $200 million in U.S. currency from methamphetamine producers in one of this city's ritziest neighborhoods, they said Friday, calling it the largest drug cash seizure in history. The seizure reflected the vast scope of an illegal drug trade linking Asia, Mexico and the United States, officials said. Two of the seven people arrested Thursday at a faux Mediterranean villa in the Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood were Chinese nationals.
The group was part of a larger drug-trafficking organization that imports "precursor chemicals" from companies in India and China for processing into methamphetamine in Mexican "super labs," authorities said. The methamphetamine is eventually sold in the United States.
The raid resulted from an investigation that began in December, when authorities seized 19 tons of pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine that is a key ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, at a Mexican port on the Pacific Coast.
A legally registered Mexican company, listed by a trade association as the country's third-largest importer of pseudoephedrine, was implicated, officials said. Mexican drug-trafficking organizations have become increasingly important in the U.S. methamphetamine trade, because the U.S. has imposed tougher controls on the sale of the chemicals used to produce the highly addictive drug.Full Story