The United States has announced sanctions against 25 China-based companies and individuals allegedly involved in the production of chemicals used in the manufacturing of fentanyl, a potent opioid linked to the ongoing drug crisis in the US. Attorney General Merrick Garland highlighted that the supply chain of this dangerous drug often starts with Chinese chemical companies.
The move comes as part of efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the US, which has seen a surge in opioid addiction and overdoses in recent years. In 2022 alone, fentanyl was associated with a record 109,680 deaths in the US.
The US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on what it described as a “China-based network responsible for the manufacturing and distribution” of fentanyl precursors and other illegal drugs. Many companies in this supply chain reportedly use deceptive tactics, including false addresses and mislabeling, to avoid detection by law enforcement.
These sanctions target 12 entities and 13 individuals based in China, as well as two entities and one individual in Canada. The measures will freeze the US assets of these entities and prohibit Americans from engaging in transactions with them.
Attorney General Garland, along with other senior officials, is scheduled to visit Mexico for meetings on addressing the illegal drug supply. He emphasised that the network responsible for fentanyl production includes cartel leaders, traffickers, money launderers, lab operators, security forces, weapons suppliers, and chemical suppliers. Garland stressed that this global fentanyl supply chain, which leads to the deaths of Americans, often originates with chemical companies in China.
In response to the sanctions, China’s embassy in Washington has not issued an immediate comment. However, in the past, China has denied allegations of illegal fentanyl trafficking to Mexico and the US. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had called on China to help halt the alleged flow of fentanyl into his country.
This move reflects the ongoing challenges faced by the US in addressing the opioid crisis and the role of international supply chains in the production and distribution of dangerous drugs like fentanyl.