Chinese government has little incentive to stop the country’s drug cartels from fueling US fentanyl crisis

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Great Chinese drug networks The Americans are helping to fuel the fentanyl crisis, a situation in which Beijing has little incentive to fight back amid deteriorating relations with Washington.

“Since about 2013, China has been the primary source of fentanyl flooding the U.S. illegal drug market,” Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital.

Singleton’s assessment of the issue is shared by the US government with 2020. Drug Enforcement Administration The report found that China is the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked to the United States, while also being the largest source of trafficking through “international mail and express consignment.”

Fentanyl shipments from China are often less than a kilogram in weight, but check for concentrations higher than 90 percent for pure fentanyl.

A Florida police unit seized enough fentanyl to kill 1.5 million adults

Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(Photo by Li Ziorin/Xinhua via Getty Images)

According to a 2020 NPR report, Chinese drug cartels have taken advantage of the Internet to market fentanyl and the chemicals used to make fentanyl, often selling and shipping the drug directly to American consumers. Mexican drug cartels The Chinese have also been major users of the drug trade, receiving shipments from China before smuggling drugs across the US border.

After years of pressure, the Chinese government took action on the issue in 2019 by more heavily regulating fentanyl production in the country. As part of a contract that was agreed upon. Trump administrationthe Chinese government pledged to investigate known fentanyl manufacturing areas, tighten controls on Internet marketing of the drug, and enforce stricter drug delivery regulations.

“The Obama and Trump administrations devoted significant diplomatic capital to persuading Beijing to crack down on China’s supply of fentanyl to the United States. In April 2019, China finally announced that it would ban the production, sale, and distribution of all fentanyl-class drugs. Export is prohibited, except to authorized firms granted special licenses by the Chinese government,” Singleton said.

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The value of 56 pounds of fentanyl is $3.6 million.

The value of 56 pounds of fentanyl is $3.6 million.
(Nevada State Police)

These measures resulted in a significant reduction in China’s illegal imports. Fentanyl tradeThe DEA expressed hope that the country would soon lose its status as a leading supplier of drugs to the United States.

But powerful Chinese drug networks have found creative ways to circumvent sanctions, disguising their efforts with complex networks that originate in isolated inner cities and to avoid detection by law enforcement. Advanced shipping methods have been developed.

Chinese drug networks have also worked around the ban by manufacturing and selling chemicals used to make fentanyl, making enforcement more difficult.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands.
(Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

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“Many Chinese networks involved in the production and promotion of fentanyl have modified their techniques to exploit loopholes in chemical restrictions and conceal their activities,” Michael Lohmuller, an analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, told NPR. Legal hurdles have grown exponentially”. put in place.

A strained relationship between the U.S. and China now threatens to undo much of the progress made since 2019, especially after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi The visit to Taiwan angered the Chinese government.

“This summer, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, the Chinese government suspended cooperation with Washington on transnational crime and drug trafficking,” Singleton said. “An expected deterioration in US-China relations will likely further weaken Beijing’s willingness to implement its 2019 fentanyl regulations, further worsening the US drug epidemic and associated trafficking activities. “

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to depart in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she prepares to depart in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022.
((AP via Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs))

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Singleton argued that the Chinese government has little incentive to begin strict enforcement again, noting that the U.S. is at the center of the opioid crisis, not China. This fact means that smuggling from China may increase in the near future.

“Going forward, it seems likely that we will see an increase in the flow of illegal Chinese drug and human trafficking into the United States, further straining Customs and Border Patrol resources,” Singleton said.

In the wake of China’s decision to cut ties with the US, Singleton highlighted the need to assess the impact of the move.

“One thing that is urgently needed is an unclassified assessment, ideally by the Department of Homeland Security, of China’s joint cooperation on transnational crime and fentanyl-related issues,” Singleton said. about the possible effects arising from the decision.” “This is also an area where stronger congressional oversight is needed, particularly through the relevant congressional committees responsible for matters related to homeland security.”

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