Chinese companies accused by US of trafficking fentanyl
On Friday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland indicted four Chinese companies in the United States for dealing in chemicals used to manufacture the dangerous drug fentanyl.
Garland said at a press conference that eight people, including employees and managers working for these companies, are also subject to prosecution, and two of them have been arrested, stressing that the case is “a first” before the US judiciary.
He pointed out that one of these companies is accused of “smuggling more than 200 kg of chemical components into the United States in order to produce more than 50 kg of fentanyl, enough to kill 25 million Americans.”
The synthetic opioid fentanyl, fifty times more potent than heroin, is the number one cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 49.
China banned the export of fentanyl to the US in 2019, a decision that was praised by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
But experts say China still allows fentanyl chemicals to be exported to Mexico and Central America, where drug cartels manufacture the drug, before smuggling it into the United States.
China has in the past denied responsibility for the fentanyl overdose crisis, blaming the American public and drug companies.
In the United States, opioid overdose deaths have risen in recent years from 69,000 in 2020 to 81,000 in 2021 and 110,000 in 2022.
Washington recently imposed sanctions on many Chinese companies accused of being involved in smuggling the drug.