The Biden administration has attributed blame for the fentanyl crisis to Chinese operatives and has initiated measures to hold them accountable. Federal charges have been filed, and banking restrictions have been imposed on companies and individuals believed to be responsible for the widespread poisoning of Americans. While Mexican cartels control the trafficking of fentanyl into the United States, Chinese entities are the primary suppliers of precursor chemicals used in its production. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced eight indictments in two federal courts in Florida, emphasizing the government’s determination to address the crisis.
In addition to the indictments, the Treasury Department has imposed banking sanctions on twelve Chinese firms, thirteen Chinese individuals, two Canadian firms, and one Canadian individual. These sanctions prohibit them from accessing U.S. financial institutions and freeze any existing assets held in those banks. The Biden administration views these actions as part of a comprehensive effort to combat the fentanyl crisis, employing a “whole-of-government” approach similar to counterterrorism and cybercrime strategies.
The Justice Department has labeled fentanyl as the most lethal drug threat in the 247-year history of the United States. While the Sinaloa Cartel and Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion control the drug’s flow across the southern border, they rely on precursor chemicals shipped from China, often disguised to conceal their contents. Chinese firms openly advertise these chemicals, according to the Justice Department.
The criminal cases against the accused were built using undercover agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and IRS agents tracking cryptocurrency payments, Homeland Security officers tracing drug shipments, and postal inspectors monitoring mail contents. The Justice Department cited an example where an undercover buyer agreed to pay $12,000 for a 25-kilogram shipment of a precursor chemical, which is sufficient to produce 32.5 kilograms of fentanyl. A mere 2-milligram dose of fentanyl can be fatal.