Mexican troops dismantle meth labsApril 22nd, 2010 - 7:43 am ICT by IANS
Mexico City, April 22 (IANS/EFE) Troops found and dismantled two methamphetamine labs in the western state of Sinaloa, Mexico’s defence department said Wednesday.
Soldiers discovered the labs while carrying out reconnaissance on the outskirts of Culiacan, the state capital.
The first facility was detected inside a small home, where troops confiscated 5.4 kg crystal meth and 26 litres (nearly 7 gals.) of liquid methamphetamine, as well as a large gas cooker, pots, plastic containers, thermometers and other equipment.
Later, the soldiers came across a much larger lab on a 2-hectare (5-acre) lot, seizing 425 kg of various precursor chemicals.
The second installation had three organic synthesis reactors, a steel cooling tower, three heat exchangers, gas tanks and burners, and an electric generator, the defence department said.
No arrests were made.
Sinaloa is the base of the like named drug cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, who escaped from a maximum security prison more than nine years ago and appears on Forbes magazine’s latest list of the world’s richest people.
Shortly after taking office in December 2006, President Felipe Calderon gave the Mexican military the lead role in battling the country’s powerful and well-armed drug cartels.
Since then, record drug seizures and the arrest or killing of several kingpins - notably excluding Guzman - have been accompanied by a marked escalation in violence.
A confidential government report provided to the Mexican Senate estimates the death toll from drug-related mayhem over the past three-plus years at nearly 23,000.
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