© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fentanyl pills found by officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration are seen in this handout picture, in New York, US, October 4, 2022. Drug Enforcement Administration/Handout via REUTERS
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Greater quantities of the synthetic opioid fentanyl directly enter the United States and Canada than Mexico, Mexico’s president said on Thursday, pushing back against US criticism of his record on cracking down on trafficking in the deadly drug.
A powerful painkiller, fentanyl has been blamed for fueling a surge in US drug overdoses, and some Republican lawmakers have urged Washington to authorize the use of military force in Mexico to bring the country’s drug gangs to heel.
Last month Anne Milgram, head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told a US congressional hearing on drug trafficking that Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and rival Jalisco New Generation Cartel were responsible for the “vast majority of fentanyl that is coming into the United States.” “
However, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a news conference that it was not Mexico that was responsible for the introduction of most fentanyl into the United States.
“I maintain that more fentanyl reaches the United States and Canada directly than reaches Mexico,” he said.
Lopez Obrador, who has bristled at suggestions the US could intervene in Mexico, said Mexican officials had explained to him that only blue fentanyl pills turned up in Mexico.
“Over in the United States they’ve got all the colors and flavors,” the president said.
Nevertheless, Lopez Obrador, who criticized US efforts to deal with American drug traffickers, suggested there was some kind of fentanyl manufacturing in Mexico after the government earlier this week said it had “no record” of production.
Asked whether there were fentanyl production labs in the country, Lopez Obrador said “yes” but underlined that the raw materials used to make the drug were coming from Asia.