US sanctions against China-based network that distributes fentanyl

US Treasury sanctions 25 Chinese individuals and companies for alleged drug manufacturing and smuggling. Washington is stepping up its efforts to curb the spread of fentanyl.

Treasury announced that it had disrupted a network based in China, which was responsible for the production and distribution of fentanyl and methamphetamine as well as ingredients used to make ecstasy. The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on two Canadian groups and one individual who were accused of importing drug-making chemicals from China.

Wally Adeyemo said, “Treasury, along with our law enforcement colleagues, is taking action to expose and disrupt the network that manufactures and distributes illicit drugs including fentanyl, and other substances, which take thousands of American’s lives every year.”

Adeyemo stated that the sanctions showed how the Biden Administration would “swiftly utilize all of our tools in order to counter the global drug threat”.

The US Justice Department also unveiled eight indictments in relation to the production and distribution fentanyl, methamphetamine and other drugs in China.

Merrick Garland, US Attorney-General, said that the global fentanyl chain, which results in deaths of Americans, is often started by chemical companies located in China. The US government is focused primarily on breaking up every link of the supply chain to get fentanyl from our communities and bring those responsible to justice.

US-China relations are at their lowest point in decades. Both sides have been trying to negotiate a solution to reduce the amount fentanyl-precursors that are coming into the US from China but they have not reached an agreement.

Treasury said that the targets were involved in global trafficking “highly powerful” xylazine, nitazenes and other chemicals mixed with illicit Fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin which has been linked to the death of tens or thousands of Americans.

Du Changgen was one of the targets. Treasury claimed that Du Changgen had the most influence on an illegal drug syndicate operating in China. It said the network was capable of synthesising multi-thousand-kilogramme quantities of the drugs and was responsible for 900kg of seized precursor drugs sent to the US and Mexico. Treasury stated that Du and his group supplied chemicals to groups such as the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.

In the last four months, US federal prosecutors have indicted Chinese nationals and groups on charges of manufacturing and supplying precursor drugs that are used to manufacture fentanyl.

Beijing has taken action against Chinese groups that supply fentanyl. Recently, entities in China began supplying precursor drugs to cartels operating in Mexico who then produce fentanyl.

The Chinese Embassy in the US said that sanctions would “only increase obstacles” to US China cooperation on counter-narcotics. Liu Pengyu said that such actions hurt both the US and other countries.

The Chinese Embassy in the US stated that sanctions will “only increase obstacles” for US-China cooperation on counter-narcotics. Liu Pengyu said that such actions hurt not only the US but also others.

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