The Department of Justice on Tuesday unsealed eight indictments against Chinese companies and their employees in cases involving fentanyl and methamphetamines and the precursor chemicals used to produce them.
The indictments, unveiled in a news release, mark the second set of prosecutions since June to charge China-based chemical manufacturing companies and Chinese nationals for trafficking fentanyl precursor chemicals into the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in 2022, more than two thirds (68%) of the reported 107,081 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involved synthetic opioids, principally fentanyl, which is mostly manufactured by Mexican drug cartels using chemicals imported from China.
"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 in the news release. "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."
Five indictments were unsealed in the middle district of Florida charging five Chinese corporations and eight Chinese nationals with the illegal importation of fentanyl and fentanyl-related chemicals into the U.S., the DOJ said. The defendants allegedly openly advertised their ability to thwart U.S. Customs and Border Protection and deliver the chemicals used to make fentanyl to Florida and elsewhere in the U.S.
Eight defendants are also charged with international money laundering, the DOJ said. According to the indictments, the Chinese companies had demonstrated success delivering a stable supply to clients in Mexico for years.
Three indictments in the southern district of Florida charge three Chinese companies and four officers and employees with fentanyl trafficking, synthetic opioid trafficking, precursor chemical importation, defrauding the U.S. Postal Service, and making and using counterfeit postage, the DOJ said.
"Targeting those who fuel the opioid epidemic, regardless of who they are and where they are operating from, is one of our district's top priorities," said Markenzy Lapointe, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Florida, in the news release. "… The precursors and synthetic opioids that are being marketed, sold, and shipped to the United States and Mexico are being mixed and redistributed into our local communities as powerful and potentially deadly controlled substances."
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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