Mexican authorities seized 18 tons of chemical precursors for illegal synthetic drugs at the port of Lazaro Cardenas, on the Pacific coast, officials said on Wednesday, adding that the chemicals had come from India and were destined for Guatemala.

In a coordinated operation, customs agents, officers from the federal Attorney General's Office and marines from the Mexican navy impounded a container shipped from Jawaharlal Nehru, India, that had been unloaded to be transferred to another vessel heading for the port of Quetzal, Guatemala, the Navy Secretariat, or Semar, said in a communique.

Semar said that the container, which had been transported to Mexico aboard the Liberian-flagged cargo ship Monte Alegre, was packed with 80 barrels containing almost 80 tons of ethyl 2-phenylacetate, a chemical precursor for the preparation of synthetic drugs.

The secretariat also said that the container and the cargo were handed over by marines to officials of the AG's office, which undertook to launch an investigation into the matter.

In July, the Mexican army made the largest seizure of chemical drug precursors in history when troops found more than 800 tons in a warehouse in the central part of the country.

The previous record was 200 tons of synthetic drug precursors, which Mexican authorities had seized in August 2010 at the western port of Manzanillo.