Mexican presidents urges China’s Xi Jinping to combat fentanyl trafficking

By April 6, 2023

Mexico City, Mexico. Mexico’s president sent a letter to Chinese leader Xi Jinping urging him to help control shipments of fentanyl from China to Mexico. 

Following pressure from members of the United States Congress for Mexico to ramp up efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador turned to his Chinese counterpart for support. 

At a press conference on April 4, the Mexican head of state shared his letter to Xi Jinping requesting his “support and cooperation” in what López Obrador called a “matter of fundamentally humanitarian nature.” 

“We come to you, President Xi Jinping […] to ask you for humanitarian reasons to help us control the shipments of fentanyl that may be sent from China to our country. For example, it would be an invaluable support to have information on who imports this substance, in what quantity, in what vessels, when it leaves Chinese ports, or to which Mexican ports it arrives and the specific type of substance,” wrote López Obrador. 

According to López Obrador, fentanyl is not produced in Mexico, emphasizing that only 30% of fentanyl consumed in the U.S. goes through the Mexican border. In his letter, López Obrador shared that in the last year, Mexican authorities have seized seven tons of fentanyl and destroyed 1,383 laboratories. 

20,000 fentanyl pills seized by the Mexican National Guard.

However, AMLO said that the efforts made by his administration to hamper fentanyl trafficking had been undermined by members of the U.S. Congress, who are looking to pass a bill that would enable the U.S. military to enter Mexican territory. 

Read more: AMLO publicly challenges the U.S. while protecting its interests inside Mexico

“Nevertheless, lately, in a fallacious and irresponsible manner, some U.S. legislators have blamed Mexico for the misfortune they suffer in their country due to the consumption of fentanyl; they have even said that if we do not stop the drug trafficking gangs operating in Mexico that introduce this drug, they could present an initiative to their congress so that the U.S. armed forces invade our territory,” he wrote. 

López Obrador has stressed that the introduction of the deadly opioid into North America is largely attributed to China, saying that the raw materials necessary to produce fentanyl come from Asia. 

Moreover, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Todd Robinson recently said that Mexican cartels had established a network to secure fentanyl precursors from China. 

Robbinson’s allegations drew the ire of China, and on April 1, the Chinese Embassy in Mexico issued a press release condemning Robinson’s comments which they labeled as unfounded, misleading, and malicious. 

“Since 2019, when the Chinese Government put all kinds of fentanyl substances under control, no smuggling of fentanyl substances has ever been found between China and Mexico, and Mexico has never reported to China any case about the seizure of controlled fentanyl precursor chemicals,” read the Chinese Embassy statement.