INT: Mexico Shuts Down Pharmacies in Tulum and Cancun for Selling Dangerous Pills to Tourists

Numerous pharmacies were shut down in the Mexican tourist strip of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum for allegedly selling dangerous bootleg pills, mostly to foreigners without prescriptions.

The crackdown, dubbed “Operation Albatross” by Mexican authorities, came on the heels of a series of investigations that found fentanyl in pills being sold as other substances like Oxycodone, Percocet, and Adderall in various areas around the country.

A June VICE News investigation with drug testing company Bunk Police found fentanyl, methamphetamine, and xylazine (an animal tranquilizer known in the U.S. as “tranq”) in pills sold in the state of Quintana Roo, where Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum are located. The investigation found that the pharmacies were connected to major Mexican criminal organizations like the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.

The four-day operation conducted by the Mexican Navy and the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Health Risk Department investigated 55 locations and ended with the suspension of operations of 23 pharmacies along the Caribbean coast.

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