Beyond China: How Other Countries Provide Precursor Chemicals to Mexico

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On September 21, 2021, Javier Algredo Vázquez was on his way to a US law enforcement office to reclaim chemical substances authorities had seized from him days earlier. In some respects, his trip that day was a remarkable act of hubris. But in other respects, it could be seen as business as usual.

The 50-year-old was born in Mexico and had lived with his family for decades in Queens County, New York, where he had worked at a prestigious hotel chain for over 15 years. But Algredo was also an entrepreneur. In the decade prior, he’d created a company that did regular business with chemical distributors in various countries. His brother, Carlos, was also a businessman with a seemingly prominent chemical import company in Mexico.

In this context, it’s not clear if Javier ever expected to be in the crosshairs of the authorities. But as soon as he arrived at the office, he was arrested and accused of providing chemical substances from various countries to criminal groups in Mexico for the production of synthetic drugs. Among his clients, prosecutors said, was the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG), one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations and one of two major suppliers of fentanyl to the United States.

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