Three containers packed with chemical precursors used by drug traffickers to make synthetic drugs were found in Santo Tomas de Castilla, a port city on Guatemala's Caribbean coast, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The chemicals arrived from Russia and Shanghai, China, and were bound for a company in southern Guatemala City.

"Inside two of the containers, which came from Russia, 160 sacks of 30 kilos each were found" on Saturday night, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The two containers were each carrying "sodium carbonate, and inside the third container, which came from Shanghai, 19,600 kilos of sodium sulfate were found," the Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The chemicals are used to produce synthetic drugs in clandestine laboratories, with the illegal products later being smuggled into Mexico and the United States.

No arrests have been made, but investigators are trying to track down the individuals listed as the recipients of the chemicals.

Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel has been manufacturing synthetic drugs in Guatemala for more than two years, officials say.

The Sinaloa drug cartel is led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, who was arrested in Guatemala in 1993 and pulled off a Hollywood-style jailbreak when he escaped from the Puente Grande maximum-security prison in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on Jan. 19, 2001.

The Sinaloa organization, sometimes referred to by officials as the Pacific cartel, is the oldest drug cartel in Mexico and Guzman, considered extremely violent, is one of the most-wanted criminals in Mexico and the United States, where the Drug Enforcement Administration has offered a reward of $5 million for him.

Forbes magazine estimates that Guzman has a fortune of more than $1 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.

The Sinaloa cartel, according to intelligence agencies, is a transnational business empire that operates in the United States, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Asia. EFE