MIAMI – The U.S. Department of Justice has unveiled a series of indictments aimed at combatting fentanyl dealers, with a particular emphasis on Florida. The indictments target Chinese-based companies that federal investigators claim have been shipping the necessary chemicals for the production of drugs responsible for thousands of fatalities.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed the commitment of law enforcement agencies in eradicating the presence of fentanyl from communities and holding those responsible accountable.
Garland stated, “We are well aware of those responsible for contaminating the American population with fentanyl and causing untold suffering to families and communities across the nation through drug-related poisonings and overdoses.”
A total of eight Chinese-based companies and their executives have now faced charges related to fentanyl and methamphetamine. Garland shed light on the modus operandi of these companies, explaining that they advertise the sale of chemical precursors online through various websites and social media platforms.
Subsequently, they discreetly dispatch the necessary components for the production of these lethal drugs worldwide. These companies have successfully eluded authorities for an extended period by utilizing deceptive return addresses and mislabeling their products upon entry into the country.
In addition to fentanyl-related charges, the recent indictments also focus on individuals and businesses allegedly implicated in the trafficking of xylazine and “nitazenes” into the United States. These substances are potent chemicals, occasionally used as veterinary sedatives, that can be mixed with fentanyl.
What sets them apart from fentanyl is that the detrimental effects of these synthetic substances cannot be reversed or countered by administering Narcan, as stated by law enforcement officials.
Garland emphasized that these dangerous substances typically arrive as powder from China or as liquid from veterinary supply chains. He cited an example where the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized over 300 grams of xylazine, which was shipped from a Chinese company to Miami and paid for with bitcoin.
The attorney general hinted at the possibility of further indictments as the Justice Department intensifies its efforts to curtail the distribution of these drugs throughout the United States.
According to the DEA, over 82,000 Americans lost their lives to fentanyl-related incidents in 2022, marking an alarming increase for the fifth consecutive year. Law enforcement agencies have reported seizing more than 55 million fentanyl pills and over 9,000 pounds of fentanyl-containing powder in the current year, according to Garland’s recent statement.