The Transnational DTO

September 26, 2009

In Argentina, ephedrine imports rose from 5.5 tons in 2006 to 28.5 tons the following year, according to the DEA. Half the 1.2 tons of ephedrine Argentine authorities seized last year was bound for Mexico in a shipment of sugar.

Also last year, police took down a methamphetamine lab in Buenos Aires linked to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. In all, 23 people — including nine Mexicans — were arrested.

Court papers say the cartel exploited Argentina’s lax financial oversight and plodding judiciary to set up shell companies to import ephedrine from India and China. The papers say employees then ground up the ephedrine, liquefied it and shipped it in wine bottles to Mexico.

In another case, three young entrepreneurs were found in a ditch, hands bound with plastic. Investigators say they were pumped with bullets in a gangland-style killing for crossing Mexican mobsters.

Two of them, Sebastian Forza and Damian Ferron, apparently tried to shortchange Mexicans who were buying in bulk from them.

They owned pharmacies and “adulterated the ephedrine, thinking they’d take advantage of the Mexicans’ stupidity,” said Tony Greco, who recently retired from the DEA after six years in Argentina.



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