Mexican officials to hold talks in US on fentanyl smuggling

Washington says almost all fentanyl on US streets is mass produced by powerful crime groups in Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked China to halt import of chemicals used to produce fentanyl. AP
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Members of Mexico's security cabinet will be in the US this week to meet officials about the trafficking of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.

The meeting's agenda will include other topics, including arms trafficking, the President said, without providing details on which US officials would participate.

Some US politicians have been calling on President Joe Biden's administration to take a harder line and ratchet up pressure on Mexico to crack down on fentanyl trafficking.

A handful of Republicans have even called for the US military to bomb Mexican cartels and their labs inside Mexico.

Fentanyl overdoses killed more than 100,000 people in the US last year, according to data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

US officials say almost all fentanyl on American streets is mass produced by powerful crime groups on Mexican soil — a claim Mr Lopez Obrador denies.

Beijing last week responded to a late-March letter from Mr Lopez Obrador asking for help on shipments of fentanyl, saying there is no illegal trafficking of the opioid between China and Mexico.

The letter and China's response did not mention supplies of the precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl.

Mr Lopez Obrador on Monday repeated that no fentanyl is synthesised inside Mexico — a claim the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) disputes.

“In Mexico, fentanyl is not produced, the raw material for fentanyl is not produced,” Mr Lopez Obrador said during a news conference on Monday.

“If China's government says they do not produce it either, then it is interesting. Who is producing it?”

Updated: April 10, 2023, 5:25 PM