Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that his government had proof of fentanyl smuggling from China after authorities seized a fentanyl shipment from the Asian country.
During his morning briefing, Lopez Obrador announced that a shipment containing fentanyl was detected at a port on Mexico’s western coast a month after the Mexican president sent a letter to Chinese leader Xi Jinping urging him to aid in controlling fentanyl trafficking from China.
“We have the evidence a shipment (that) arrived from a port in China in a container to the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan. All the laboratory analysis has been done, and we will respectfully send this information with the same request that they help us to inform us when these chemicals leave and if it is possible that they prevent these chemicals from leaving their ports,” said Lopez Obrador.
Following pressures from members of US Congress who criticized the administration of Lopez Obrador for allegedly allowing drug cartels to smuggle fentanyl into the US with impunity, the Mexican president held Chinese criminals responsible for introducing fentanyl and fentanyl precursors into Mexican territory.
On April 4, Lopez Obrador sent a letter asking the Chinese government to help stop the alleged fentanyl shipments. However, Chinese authorities denied the Mexican allegations, with Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning saying that, at the moment, Mexico had not briefed the Chinese on fentanyl shipments.
“There is no such thing as illegal trafficking of fentanyl between China and Mexico. We two countries have a smooth channel of counternarcotics cooperation, and the competent authorities of the two countries maintain sound communication. China has not been notified by Mexico on the seizure of scheduled fentanyl precursors from China,” said Ning.
According to Lopez Obrador, Mexico is reaching out to China on behalf of its neighbor to the north, saying that representatives of the Democrat and Republican parties approached him and asked him to write the letter to China.
Chinese authorities have maintained that the fentanyl crisis currently plaguing the US is due to a lack of substantial measures to “strengthen domestic regulation and reduce demand.” They have also criticized the US government for intervening in Mexico’s sovereignty.
“China firmly supports Mexico in defending independence and autonomy and opposing foreign interference and calls on the relevant country to stop hegemonic practices against Mexico. At the same time, we hope the Mexican side will also take stronger counternarcotics actions,” said Ning at a press conference on April 6.