Mexico Arrests Synthetic Drug Manufacturer Fugitive from U.S. Justice

By Dialogo
February 16, 2012

On February 14, the Mexican Security Secretariat announced the arrest of a producer and distributor of synthetic drugs with ties to the Sinaloa cartel and who is a fugitive from U.S. justice.

Jaime Herrera Herrera, alias “el Viejito” [“the Little Old Man”], was arrested on February 13 in Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, in the northwestern part of the country. He was identified as “one of the chief producers and distributors of synthetic drugs working for” the cartel led by Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán.

“Herrera is a fugitive from the U.S. authorities, since he has a record in several states in relation to his criminal activity,” the secretariat specified in a statement.

The secretariat specified that he had been arrested in the neighboring nation in the 1990s, but while free on bond, he escaped to Mexico, where in 2002, “he established his center of operations in Culiacán in order to produce drugs, which he sent by land to Los Angeles, California.”

“According to the investigations, he acquired supplies of chemical precursors coming from China and Guatemala in 2008. At that time, he possessed three small planes with which he transported the synthetic drugs” to the United States.

Currently, he was using two rural properties near Culiacán to produce methamphetamines, the bulletin added.

Another member of his group was arrested along with him, and 147 packages containing a total of more than 200 kilos of methamphetamine were seized.

Last week, the Mexican authorities announced a “historic” blow against drug trafficking when they seized more than 15 tons of methamphetamines and substances for manufacturing synthetic drugs in Jalisco, in western Mexico.

The discovery took place at the same time that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime warned that the cartels are directing their efforts toward the production of synthetic drugs, since they appear to be a more attractive business than cocaine.

Since 2006, 646 laboratories for producing synthetic drugs have been dismantled, and more than 45 tons of methamphetamines have been seized, according to an announcement by the Military in early February.