WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday (Oct 3) announced actions against Chinese companies and people as the Biden administration seeks to target the trafficking of the deadly drug fentanyl, unsealing indictments and imposing sanctions on dozens of targets.
“We are here today to deliver a message on behalf of the United States government. We know who is responsible for poisoning the American people with fentanyl,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters.
“We know that this global fentanyl supply chain, which ends with the deaths of Americans, often starts with chemical companies in China.”
The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on 28 people and entities involved with the international proliferation of illicit drugs, including a large China-based network.
The move marks the latest Chinese targets hit with sanctions by Washington in a fentanyl-related action, as the Biden administration seeks to stem imports of the drug.
The Justice Department also unsealed eight indictments charging China-based companies and their employees with crimes relating to fentanyl and methamphetamine production, distribution of synthetic opioids, and sales resulting from precursor chemicals.
China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Treasury accused the network of being responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine and MDMA precursors.
It said the network is capable of synthesizing multi-thousand-kilogram quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and MDMA precursors and other illicit chemicals.
So-called fentanyl precursors are chemicals used to produce the powerful synthetic opioid that has fueled a rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States in recent years.
Also hit with sanctions were two entities and one person based in Canada.
Tuesday’s sanctions action freezes any US assets of those targeted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.