US sanctions Mexican drug precursor suppliers

Feb 22, 2023, 10:08 AM | Updated: 10:17 am

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Wednesday on six members of a Mexican ring accused of supplying massive amounts of precursor chemical used to make deadly fentanyl and methamphetamines.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control blocked any U.S. properties of brothers Ludim and Luis Alfonso Zamudio Lerma, as well as several people they did business with.

The six allegedly supplied chemicals used in super labs, which the office described as “large-scale drug laboratories that produce 10 or more pounds of an illicit drug per production cycle” to make meth and the synthetic opioid fentanyl for the Sinaloa Cartel.

“The Zamudio Lerma brothers and their network enable the production of synthetic drugs that devastate American lives, while lining the pockets of Sinaloa Cartel leadership,” OFAC Director Andrea Gacki said in a statement.

The ring allegedly supplied top-level Sinaloa cartel traffickers like the recently imprisoned Ovidio Guzman, the son of imprisoned cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Authorities in Mexico have found ever-larger processing facilities in Mexico where precursor chemicals, often imported from China, are used to make meth and fentanyl.

Mexican cartels often press fentanyl into pills that mimic legitimate medications, heightening the danger of overdoses because many victims do not know they are taking fentanyl.

Over 70,000 Americans died of overdoses involving opioids in 2020, mainly fentanyl.

The office also named two Mexican companies owned by the Zamudio family in the sanctions, Aceros y Refacciones del Humaya, S.A. de C.V. and Farmacia Ludim.

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US sanctions Mexican drug precursor suppliers