Two Chinese nationals charged with selling fentanyl to U.S. suppliers

Source WOIO

Prosecutors said Yan and Zhang operated labs and chemical plants in China that "were capable of producing ton quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues" which were then sold to USA customers over the internet.

According to the DOJ, Yan operated at least two chemical plants in China that were capable of producing ton quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.

The Justice Department said Tuesday that it has indicted two Chinese nationals suspected of manufacturing and then distributing in the USA a synthetic opioid that officials say kills thousands of Americans every year.

Assistant Commissioner Joanne Crampton with the RCMP, one of several agencies involved in the investigation, said the force has implemented a national strategy aimed at tackling fentanyl importers, distributors and traffickers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said recently that fentanyl can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and it is often mixed with heroin or cocaine. Yan could allegedly alter the chemical makeup of the fentanyl to evade US laws, and had at least 100 distributors working for him. Zhang manufactured fentanyl in at least four labs and sold the drug to U.S. customers over the internet, distributing the drugs through the mail and global parcel delivery services.

On Sept. 20, Jian Zhang, 38, of China, five Canadian citizens, two residents of Florida, and a resident of New Jersey were indicted in the District of North Dakota for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in the United States, conspiracy to import the drugs from Canada and China, a money laundering conspiracy, an worldwide money laundering conspiracy, and operation of a continuing criminal enterprise.

Further details about them were not immediately available, but they are accused of arranging shipments of fentanyl and other drugs from Canada to Florida and Portland Ore., in 2014, according to documents filed with an American court. China must do more to crack down on labs making the drugs, he said.

USA officials said Yan kept tabs on legislation and law-enforcement activities in the United States and China, and modified the chemical structures of the fentanyl analogues he made to evade prosecution in the United States. "The defendants alleged shipped massive quantities of deadly fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to communities in the United States.the chemicals allegedly killed and injured people.and surely caused misery to many thousands of people".

Both suspects are believed to be in China, and Beijing is unlikely to hand over two of its citizens for prosecution in the US, which does not have an extradition treaty with China.

With the supply of prescription opioids on the market cut back in the past two years, addicts have turned to the cheapest alternative, fentanyl or heroin cut with fentanyl.

If convicted, Yan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release.

The charges in the case, which come as North America grapples with an increasingly deadly opioid crisis, are said to the first in the United States against designated Chinese manufacturers of fentanyl and other opiates.

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