Mexican cartels are turning homes into ‘fentanyl factories’ in Colima

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The sound of rapid gunfire drowns out the people’s conversation in Colima, but not a single person pays attention.

This is day-to-day life in Colima, the most deadly city in the world, according to a new report by The Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice (CCPSCJ) in Mexico.

The 330,000-person-strong city is being ripped apart by violent cartel turf wars, and last year recorded a shocking rate of 182 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

In total, 601 lives – many of them innocent civilians – were deliberately taken as drug lords battle for territory of the city and Mexican state with the same name.

In January this year, 70 people were intentionally killed in the city, including a university student who played American football, a doctor from the State Institute of Oncology, and a 16-year-old boy.

Colima City is hotly contested by three different gangs due to its proximity to the port city of Manzanillo, which has become a Western gateway for organized crime.

Controlling the capital means the drug kingpins can control the rest of the state.

It was once the safest place to live in Mexico, with almost all inhabitants having access to electricity, running water, and a sewage system.

Even now, tourists still flock to the coast of Colima for the long sandy, bordered by luxurious Moor-style hotels which can cost up to £200 a night.

But in recent years, it has become the battleground for a power struggle between the Sinaloa Cartel, The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), and Los Zetas.

And the rivalries have only intensified since the production of fentanyl became a lucrative source of income for gangs.

Falko Ernst, senior Mexico analyst at the International Crisis Group, suggests the drug has become an ignition point for continued violence in the once sleepy city of Colima.

Ernst said: “It’s definitely become a big driver of violence in Mexico.

“It’s a huge cash cow for those who have access to it.”

The ability to import the powerful drug in small packages means urban areas can be used for production – unlike growing poppies for opium.

Residents of the city and surrounding areas have told how their homes are being turned into “fentanyl factories”.

More potent than heroin or cocaine, the synthetic drug is cheaper to produce and can sell for a higher price.

One worker, who fills around 21,000 capsules of the addictive substance a week, told The Irish Times they were paid around US$280.

“It’s not a lot of money, but everywhere pays so little. It’s boring, too,” said one of the masked men, who were making the drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel.

Source: OEM

The Colima Post