Biden administration announces charges, sanctions to crack down on China-based fentanyl traffickers

4 Min Read

The Biden administration announced Tuesday multiple indictments in Florida against China-based companies and Chinese nationals for allegedly manufacturing and selling fentanyl and related chemicals. Sanctions against 28 individuals and entities in China and Canada allegedly involved in selling precursor chemicals as well as labs and distributors of the chemicals were also announced, according to a statement from the Justice Department. “We know that the global fentanyl supply chain, which ends with the deaths of Americans, often starts with chemical companies in China,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday. “The United States government is focused on breaking apart every link in that chain, getting fentanyl out of our communities, and bringing those who put it there to justice.” The charges announced Tuesday are the latest step in the US government’s yearslong push to stem the rampant importation of fentanyl, which kills tens of thousands of Americans annually. The new charges also come after an intensified effort by US law enforcement in recent months to trace the cryptocurrency payments and the manufacturing equipment, such as pill presses, that are fueling the fentanyl crises. Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the indictments and continued investigation along with Drug Enforcement Administrator Anne Milgram. The DHS’s Homeland Security Investigations as well as Customs and Border Protection also announced recent seizures of more than 1,000 kilograms of precursor chemicals, which, according to Milgram, are primarily created in China and sold to cartels in Mexico who use the chemicals to create fentanyl. The US Postal Inspection Service also was involved in tracing packages that contained such chemicals. “Through the dedication and investigative abilities of agents and officers from HSI, CBP, and our federal partners, we are bringing accountability to ruthless organizations and individuals resident in the People’s Republic of China and to the cartel members that seek to profit from the death and destruction that fentanyl causes,” Mayorkas said during Tuesday’s press conference. Garland and Mayorkas are set to meet their Mexican counterparts in Mexico City later this week alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other senior US officials for the 2023 US-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue. As part of the fentanyl crackdown, the DEA has invested in crypto-tracing software and identifying the Mexican cartels’ most sophisticated money launderers, the IRS has its most tech-savvy agents tracing payments on dark web forums, and a DHS investigations unit is leading a team of forensic specialists to pore over digital clues from stash houses near the Mexican border, CNN previously reported. But it remains to be seen how effectively indictments and sanctions can disrupt traffickers from participating in the multibillion-dollar fentanyl trade. A CNN investigation into the activities of US-sanctioned Chinese chemical companies that advertise fentanyl ingredients found that when one sanctioned company shut down, another company launched and bought the sanctioned company’s email, phone number and Facebook page to “attract internet traffic.”

Share This Article
By admin
test bio
Leave a comment
Please login to use this feature.