MEXICO CITY – Police seized 2.2 million pseudoephedrine tablets and other illegal drugs in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, the Attorney General’s Office said.
Authorities also confiscated 381 kilos of pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and methamphetamine during the operation.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal stimulant.
The banned substances were found in the course of an investigation into explosions at two ranches in the city of Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, where several labs had been established to produce synthetic drugs.
The AG’s office did not say whether any arrests had been made during the anti-drug operation.
Pseudoephedrine was previously used to make cold medications in Mexico, but the compound’s possession was banned in 2007 because of the growing trade in synthetic drugs.
Mexico has been cracking down on the synthetic drug trade, dismantling several rings that produced the stimulants.
Federal agents seized 1.7 million pseudoephedrine tablets and arrested one person in southeastern Mexico, the AG’s office said last week, without providing details on when the bust was made.
Jose Macias Huerta, who was transporting the tablets in the false bottom of a truck, was arrested on the Villahermosa-Coatzacoalcos highway during a routine stop, the AG’s office said Wednesday.
In January, authorities seized 2.8 tons of pseudoephedrine tablets in the Pacific port of Manzanillo.
Customs agents seized more than half a ton of pseudoephedrine later that month aboard a charter flight that arrived in the Caribbean resort city of Cancun from London.
Customs agents found the 575 kilos (0.63 tons) of the banned substance while inspecting a Thomsonfly airlines charter plane.
In February, six people were arrested and 324 kilos (713 pounds) of pseudoephedrine were seized at the Mexico City International Airport.
The suspects were traveling from Hong Kong to the western Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta, with stopovers in Paris and Mexico City.
The pseudoephedrine was hidden in 14 suitcases belonging to the suspects.
One of the suspects told authorities that a person invited the group for a five-day visit to Hong Kong with all expenses paid and asked them to transport some suitcases to Mexico in exchange for $4,000.
The biggest blow against the synthetic drug industry occurred in March 2007, when police found $206 million in cash at the Mexico City residence of Chinese-born pharmaceuticals importer and suspected drug trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon.
In 2007, a federal grand jury in the United States indicted the businessman on drug-smuggling and money-laundering charges.
The Chinese-born Ye Gon, who was wanted in Mexico on similar charges, was arrested in July 2007 by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents at a restaurant in Wheaton, Maryland, near Washington.
The rise in pseudoephedrine seizures in Mexico is due, according to experts, to a change in the drug market in the United States, where designer drugs have started to displace cocaine.