Spain’s El País has the story,
A journey to the home of fentanyl, the drug that killed Prince. EL PAÍS finds that production of a substance 50 times stronger than heroin has spread through the Mexican state of Guerrero
Originally created as a potent painkiller for terminal cancer patients, the recreational use of fentanyl has been growing to the point of becoming a nightmare for US authorities. Nearly 700 people have died there in just one year, yet consumption is on the rise.
The first shipments used to come in from China, leading to its other name of China White. The drug cartels soon got wind of its penetration in the US. Although its starting price is similar to heroin – around $5,000 a kilogram – its explosive potency means that it can be adulterated in multiple ways, increasing profits twentyfold compared with opium.
Going through the porous border,
Once the delivery channels were under control, the next step was to begin homemade production. There are few available figures to work with. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has detected a flow of chemical precursors to Mexico and has tracked down laboratories in Nayarit, Colima and Guerrero. The greatest seizure on Mexican territory took place last year in Sinaloa, where police found 25 kilograms of fentanyl and 19,000 pills of oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, in the hands of operators working for the drug lord El Chapo Guzmán.
Since then, there has been a trickle of uncovered shipments and small seizures – the latest one took place last week, when authorities cracked down on hired killers who had assassinated three federal police officers in Chilapa (Guerrero).