Chinese corporations and executives have been charged with fines after the Biden administration said they imported ingredients needed to make synthetic narcotics like fentanyl.
The global fentanyl supply chain, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland, generally begins with chemical companies in China.
Twelve high-level officials were indicted on drug trafficking charges by the US Department of Justice. The Treasury Department has sanctions against 28 individuals and organizations, mainly in China and Canada. These sanctions will prevent these individuals and organizations from accessing the U.S. financial system and make it illegal for any U.S. citizen to do business with them. Prosecutors said they wanted to “bring every one of these offenders to justice,” but no one has been detained so far.
The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that the majority of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs entering the United States come from either Mexico or China. China is the primary source of the precursor chemicals used in the production of fentanyl. The companies producing the precursors often use false return addresses and deceptive product labeling to evade authorities. The Justice Department cites the case of a Chinese pharmaceutical technology business that advertised and supplied xylazine, a horse tranquilizer typically combined with fentanyl to ensure a more potent high, to the United States and Mexico.
Following a string of steps taken this year against Sinaloa cartel members, cash couriers, and fraud schemes, the authorities have taken their latest stance. The issue of fentanyl is likely to be front and center in next year’s presidential campaign, as Republicans have argued that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to stop it.
Drug overdose deaths in the United States have increased more than seven times between 2015 and 2021, with fentanyl, a potent opioid, being the leading cause of death. Since 2020, fentanyl has been responsible for almost two-thirds of the approximately 100,000 annual drug overdose deaths. The drug trade has been the target of more than 200 sanctions issued by the Biden administration.