United States indicts Chinese nationals for importing opioids

United States indicts Chinese nationals for importing opioids

The charges in the case, which come as North America grapples with an increasingly deadly opioid crisis, are said to the first in the United States against designated Chinese manufacturers of fentanyl and other opiates. The suspects also include two residents of Florida and a resident of New Jersey who, like the Canadians, were indicted in connection with Zhang's case.

Federal investigations of the distributors are ongoing in 10 judicial districts, and investigators have traced illegal proceeds of the distribution network, according to the DOJ. On Oct. 12, Darius Ghahary, 48, of Ramsey, New Jersey was arrested.

The U.S. Justice Department says customers bought pure fentanyl and other risky drugs online directly from Chinese factories, and inexperienced users would overdose because they didn't realize the potency of the opioids.

Legal and illegal synthetic opioids were behind most of the 64,000 drug overdose deaths across the country in 2016, a record level expected to further rise this year.

United States officials would not say if the two traffickers had been arrested or their plants shut by the Chinese authorities. A 2013 traffic stop in MS unearthed a domestic drug ring linked to Yan. These drugs were often delivered through the mail or commercial parcel delivery services.

The case against Yan is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie in the Southern District of Mississippi. The Justice Department said Yan sold to more than 100 distributors. Agents intercepted packages mailed from Yan's internet pharmaceutical companies, seizing multiple kilograms of suspected acetyl fentanyl, potentially enough for thousands of lethal doses.

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NORTH DAKOTA OVERDOSE: The second case began in January of 2015, with the fentanyl overdose death of an 18-year-old in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Federal authorities are increasingly warning of the dangers of fentanyl, which can be lethal even in small amounts and is often laced with other risky drugs.

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Tuesday that 20,000 of those deaths resulted from fentanyl that is cheap to manufacture and is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. They determined that another Grand Forks residents supplied the fentanyl. This person had been using Bitcoin to buy fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs over the Dark Web for more than a year.

Rosenstein said the department has talked to Chinese officials about the cases and plans to share the government's evidence.

Zhang's organization would send orders of fentanyl or other illicit drugs, or pill presses, stamps, or dies used to shape fentanyl into pills, to customers in the United States through the mail or worldwide parcel delivery services, according to the news release issued by the DOJ. He also operated websites selling acetyl fentanyl and other deadly fentanyl analogues directly to USA customers in multiple cities across the country. The United States does not have an extradition agreement with China. Rosenstein said. "Our dedicated investigators and prosecutors, working in close partnership with our global partners, are determined to shut down this deadly traffic and preserve the lives of our citizens".

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