1684018473 A Los Chapitos affiliated pharmaceutical company signed multi million dollar contracts with

A Los Chapitos-affiliated pharmaceutical company signed multi-million dollar contracts with the Sinaloa government and federal government

A Sumilab lab in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa state.A Sumilab lab in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa state. Ministry of Finance

One of the Mexican companies sanctioned by the United States and accused of ties to Los Chapitos, heirs to the Sinaloa cartel, was a supplier to state and federal governments. Sumilab SA de CV’s favorite client was the state of Sinaloa, an enclave of the criminal organization founded by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Between 2018 and 2022, the government, led by Quirino Ordaz Coppel, now the Mexican Ambassador to Spain, awarded the company 14.7 million pesos worth of contracts. Those purchases were primarily made through Culiacán Hospital and the Sinaloan Institute of Educational Physical Infrastructure, according to the 71 bills the Sinaloa government released on the National Transparency Platform. When asked about handing over the contracts to Sumilab, both the government of Rubén Rocha Moya and former governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel declined to answer questions from this newspaper.

Sumilab is a company formed for the sale of chemical products and laboratory equipment based in Culiacán, Sinaloa. On its website, the company claims to be a 100% Mexican company with more than 33 years of experience in the commercialization and distribution of products, devices and materials of all kinds – although according to the statutes of the laboratories it was already founded 22 years ago. On May 9, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added it to one of its blacklists. The US agency reported that the Mexican company has been charged over its involvement in the supply and delivery of chemical precursors used in the manufacture of medicines to members of the Sinaloa cartel.

The announcement of OFAC sanctions against Sumilab came on the same day that the Treasury Department also announced action against Joaquín Guzmán López, son of Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera and fourth member of Los Chapitos, as well as three other Sinaloa cartel members and one other Company announced dedicated to real estate business in the northwestern state of Mexico. The effects of the OFAC designation range from blocking property and financial interests to prohibiting any transactions through or within the United States. Likewise, the Treasury advises that individuals involved in certain transactions with the designated individuals or companies may also face sanctions.

Graphic associating Sumilab with the children of Joaquín 'el Chapo' Guzmán.Graphic associating Sumilab with the children of Joaquín ‘el Chapo’ Guzmán. Ministry of Finance

According to the contracts and invoices registered in the National Transparency Platform, the Sinaloa government acquired chemicals and laboratory supplies to equip the Civil Hospital of Culiacán (the state capital) and several state universities, including the Technical University of Culiacán and the Polytechnic University of Valle del Évora, located in Guamúchil, Sinaloa. To these companies, the Los Chapitos affiliate sold packages containing reagents, filters, acetates, materials, supplies and laboratory supplies such as convection ovens and microscopes.

EL PAÍS contacted Andrés Castro, director of the Sinaloan Institute of Educational Physical Infrastructure between January 2017 and May 2019, when Sumilab received the agency’s first order of 700,000 pesos. Castro assured that during his tenure, ISIFE conducted the procurement procedures in accordance with the law and applicable regulations, claiming that the participants complied with the requirements set out in the tender specifications and that, at least in his case, he was not up to date. so much so that the company was investigated by the United States. When Castro left ISIFE in his place in 2019, former Sinaloa governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel appointed his then-Secretary for Sustainable Development, former Mayor of Ahome Álvaro Ruelas, to head the institution. It was the Sinaloan PRI that signed the documents with Sumilab when acquisitions were made for 12 million pesos.

For his part, the director of the Culiacán Civil Hospital between 2019 and 2021, Israel Martínez, confirmed the purchases from the company linked to Los Chapitos, but stressed that no chemical substances were purchased, only laboratory supplies. “Such operations have been carried out on the basis of procurement procedures provided for by law, according to a purchasing committee to which they are submitted for approval,” he said.

Although Sumilab continued to receive orders between 2017 and 2021, the offices, which now report to Morenista Governor Rubén Rocha Moya, have continued to acquire items from the company linked to El Chapo’s heirs. The transparent documents show that the Sinaloa government bought material from Sumilab for 871,000 pesos in 2022 through its dependencies. In addition to Sinaloa, there are also offices dependent on the federal government, currently headed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, such as two research centers of the National Council for Humanities, Sciences and Technologies (Conahcyt) operating in northwestern Mexico. ), an office of the National Water Commission (Conagua) in the region, and the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock Research have purchased equipment and chemicals from Sumilab. In total, from 2018 to date, the company has received contracts for over 2.7 million pesos from federal agencies through the Food and Development Research Center (CIAD) and the Northwest Biological Research Center. Questioned by that newspaper, Conahcyt officials declined to comment on Sumilab’s purchases.

To a lesser extent, health authorities and universities in the states of Sonora and Baja California Sur have also purchased Sumilab chemicals and materials over the past five years. Prior to 2017, the governments of these states had acquired the company’s products, but acquisitions increased after 2018, according to the National Transparency Platform. Ditto for the federal government: Prior to 2018, the only federal entity that had contracts with the Los Chapitos-affiliated company was the Administration and Investment Trust in support of scientific research and technological development of the National Institute of Forestry Research. , Agriculture and Livestock, which reports to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) before the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).

In announcing the sanctions against Sumilab and four members of the Sinaloa cartel, the Treasury Department assured that this measure was closely coordinated with the Mexican government, including the Financial Intelligence Unit. The actions taken by the US government this week are a further step in narrowing down the heirs of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, El Chapo, leader of the Sinaloa cartel: Alfredo, Iván Archivaldo, Joaquín and Ovidio Guzmán, against whom they have been fighting since 2008 and you accuse her of conducting increased operations to bring fentanyl into US territory.

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