In a first, naval officers find huge cache of dynamite in cave-like meth lab run by Mexican drug cartel


Mexican marines found 110 pounds of dynamite hidden in a methamphetamine laboratory run by a drug cartel, the navy said Thursday. The navy said it marked the first time it had discovered explosive materials that were “presumed to be used against the personnel and vehicles involved in destroying these laboratories.”

The navy said the explosives may have been intended for use in “mines and explosive artifacts” of the kind that cartels have been increasingly using to attack law enforcement personnel in Mexico.

“It could be used to manufacture bombs, as well as mines and other explosive artifacts that would be capable of damaging highly armored vehicles,” the Navy Department said in a statement.

Other explosives were also found at the site, a cave-like structure in the northern state of Sinaloa. Sinaloa is the headquarters of the drug cartel of the same name.

Mexican marines found over 100 pounds of dynamite hidden in a methamphetamine laboratory run by a drug cartel, the navy said Thursday.

Mexican Navy

Photos from the raid showed two boxes labelled “Explosives Blasting Type E,” suggesting they were made in Mexico and may have been intended for use in the mining or construction industry. Thefts of such explosives from mines have been reported before in Mexico.

Marines also found three other drug labs holding about 19,000 pounds of “nearly finished” meth in the raids that took place starting Monday. They also seized over 14,000 pounds of other “substances and chemical precursors” for the production of synthetic drugs.

All of the meth and materials were destroyed on site, officials said, noting that the drugs and other items were worth more than $30 million.

In July, another drug cartel set off a coordinated series of seven roadway bombs in western Mexico that killed four police officers and two civilians. The governor of Jalisco state said the explosions were a trap set by the cartel to kill law enforcement personnel.

The two dead civilians were in a vehicle that happened to be passing the spot when the explosives detonated in Tlajomulco, near the state capital of Guadalajara. The bombs may have been remotely detonated. They were so powerful they tore craters in the road, destroyed at least four vehicles and wounded 14 other people.

It was the latest example of the increasingly open, military-style challenge posed by the country’s drug cartels.

In June, another cartel used a car bomb to kill a National Guard officer in the neighboring state of Guanajuato.

Explosives also wounded 10 soldiers in the neighboring state of Michoacan in 2022 and killed a civilian.

Explosives aren’t the only escalation in the methods of Mexican cartels. Cartel turf battles in Michoacan state have featured the use of trenches, pillboxes, homemade armored cars and drones modified to drop small bombs.

The Mexican navy said Thursday that so far this year, it had found and destroyed a total of 92 secret drug labs, 125 tons of methamphetamine  and 285 tons of chemical substances and precursors .

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