dpa/GNA – Mexican security forces confiscated almost 500 per cent more of the opioid fentanyl in 2020 than in the previous year, Defence Minister Luis Sandoval said on Thursday.
In a press conference, Sandoval said that some 1.3 tons of the powerful opioid painkiller were seized in the past twelve months – a 486-per-cent increase from 2019.
The minister said there was an increased demand for the drug, which is highly addictive and easy to smuggle.
The amount of fentanyl seized, however, was still significantly lower than of three other drugs.
Mexican security forces seized 244 tons of marijuana over the past 12 months, an 8-per-cent increase compared to 2019, some 35 tons of crystal methamphetamine, also up by 8 per cent, and just under 28 tons of cocaine, a 45-per-cent jump.
Sandoval, who credited security forces for the increase, also said there was an increased demand for synthetic drugs, as the number of illegal drug labs discovered in 2020 rose by 92 per cent to 175.
Drug cartels smuggle large quantities of illicit substances into the United States via Mexico’s approximately 3,200-kilometre-long northern border every year.
Since then-president Felipe Calderon declared war on the criminal groups in 2006, Mexico has experienced extremely high levels of violence. More than 65,000 people were killed in 2019 and in the first 10 months of 2020.