Organized Crime

Crystal Meth Producers Caught Shipping Chemicals Through El Salvador

On Monday, La Prensa Grafica reported that Salvadoran Police arrested José Dolores Palacios Escamilla for possession of 45 barrels of phenylactic acid, a chemical used to produce methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth. The chemicals were being stored in a warehouse in San Juan Opico, La Libertad. The police report that Mr. Palacios brought the chemicals through customs claiming that it was a cleaning agent. The 45 barrels was enough to produce $91 million dollars worth of crystal meth.

This is the second such arrest in less than a week. Last Friday authorities also decommissioned 80 barrels of phenylactic acid that would have produced $165 million worth of crystal meth. The police found the 80 barrels in a container that arrived from Shanghai, China at the port of Acajutla.

In April, Salvadoran authorities working with officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found 28 tons of ethyl phenyl acetate, which is used to produce phenylactic acid, in three containers at the port of Acajutla. The 28 tons, which was also shipped from China, was enough to produce $171 million worth of crystal meth.

The attorney general’s office is investigation whether the shipments are linked in any way.

Authorities believe that the shipments were being stored in El Salvador until they could be safely shipped to Guatemala where laboratories would process the chemicals into crystal meth to be sold in the U.S.