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Mexico: World's largest drug cash seizure is larger than originally announced

MEXICO CITY: The world's largest drug cash seizure just got bigger.

In a news release sent out Thursday, the Mexican federal Attorney General's office said a new count of the Mexican pesos seized in a luxury home in Mexico City found 17.3 million pesos — not the 157,500 originally reported — a difference worth about US$1.5 million (€1.12 million).

There was no explanation for the large discrepancy.

The new figure brought the total amount of cash seized in the home to more than US$207 million (€155.04 million.) That includes 205.6 million in U.S. dollars, 200,000 in euros and the pesos.

Officials also said the main suspect, a Chinese man with Mexican citizenship, was also wanted by Interpol on drug charges. Prosecutors say Zhenli Ye Gon ran one of the hemisphere's largest networks for trafficking pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in methamphetamines.

He allegedly used the front company, Unimed Pharm Chem de Mexico SA, to import large quantities of the ingredients needed to make methamphetamines from India and Germany.

Federal agents seized the cash, eight luxury vehicles, seven weapons and a machine to make pills during a raid last week at a house in Lomas de Chapultepec, a neighborhood of walled compounds that is home to ambassadors and business magnates. Seven people were arrested.

The money was hidden in walls, closets and suitcases.

Since the U.S. cracked down on the mass sale of cold medicines used to make methamphetamines, Mexico has become one of the world's largest producers of the synthetic drug.

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