More than 44 tons of chemicals commonly used to manufacture synthetic drugs were confiscated at Mexico's Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas, authorities said in a statement.

A total of 235 metal drums of methylamine - concealed inside two containers labeled as liquid antifreeze - had been shipped from China and were found on board a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel.

The intended destination of the consignment was Guatemala's Puerto Quetzal.

The methylamine - which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists as a precursor to methamphetamine - was seized at that port in the western state of Michoacan in an operation conducted by the federal Attorney General's Office, the Navy Secretariat and the SAT internal revenue service.

The consignment was turned over to naval personnel, those agencies said Wednesday in a joint statement.

Michoacan is the home turf of the Los Caballeros Templarios (The Knights Templar) criminal gang, which formed after the near-total dismantling of the La Familia Michoacana cartel.

Badly weakened in recent months by the capture or death of its top leaders, La Familia had been the country's largest trafficker of synthetic drugs and a major source of the crystal meth consumed in the United States.

Mexico's Pacific coast, particularly the ports of Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo (in Colima state), is the main entry point for illegal drugs smuggled into the country.

Authorities have made numerous seizures of narcotics and drug-precursor shipments at those ports in recent years.

The largest single seizure occurred in August 2010, when a 200-ton consignment of drug precursors from China and South Korea was confiscated at the port of Manzanillo.