Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced today a major blow against imported opioid smugglers. Two Chinese nationals were indicted for manufacturing and distributing Fenatyl in Chinese factories; and their distribution networks in the US and Canada broken up.
Several months ago, the Chinese Ministry of Health banned Fenatyl as a prescription drug. The surpluses and production capabilities, however, have found their ways onto the Black Market. In light of the Chinese crackdown and higher prices and greater demand in North America; organized crime in China has turned to the US market.
Jian Zhang, also known as 'Hong Kong Zaron' is a specimen of such gangsters. He's believed to have shipped "thousands" of opioids through a money-laundering and postal fraud front based in Canada. DOJ official Rod Rosenthal stated that an 18 year-old's overdose death in North Dakota led investigators to a local pusher who was purchasing the Chinese-made narcotics over the Internet using Bitcoin. The FBI now knows that Zhang's tentacles spread across at least 11 states, employing American and Canadian crooks. Eight of the ringleaders of the Zhang group---all Americans---were rounded up today and jailed.
Xiobing Yan operated two known pill-mills in China under a variety of aliases and false-fronts. He was also trafficking other narcotics into the US, disguising the packages as containing spices, perfumes, etc. Yan's activities were uncovered after a local distribution ring was dismantled in Mississippi. His companies, via the so-called Dark Web, were pushing Fenatyl directly to US distributors. According to the DOJ, Yan's mills can produce "ton quantities" of the drug and that agents have seized "enough Fenatyl for thousands of lethal doses."
The FBI also seized "about 100 distributors involved in Yan's network." And investigations are ongoing.
How much of the Opioid traffic was disrupted by today's actions is impossible to calculate, but it is significant. How much damage Yan, Zhang, and their confederates were responsible for is also extensive. Sessions and Rosenthal both noted that several Opioid overdose deaths have been traced to products these two gangsters turned out.
China---which is also suffering from an Opioid problem---agreed at a recent CED Summit to cooperate with the US in fighting this scourge. The Chinese authorities face some unique problems of their own; but Sessions commended them today for their assistance in upsetting this network---clearly a menace to both countries.