The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken action against four Chinese chemical manufacturers and eight Chinese nationals, accusing them of various crimes connected to the production, distribution, and sales of the dangerous drug fentanyl.
According to a statement released by the Justice Department, two individuals have been arrested, and three indictments have been unsealed in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. The charges filed against the Chinese companies and their employees involve the deliberate violation of U.S. federal laws by engaging in the manufacturing, marketing, selling, and supplying of precursor chemicals used in fentanyl production within the United States.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco emphasized the Justice Department’s commitment to thoroughly investigate and prosecute every aspect of the fentanyl supply chain, including Chinese companies and executives responsible for producing and exporting significant quantities of precursor chemicals. Monaco stated, “There can be no safe haven.”
Fentanyl and its analogs have contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States, causing widespread devastation in communities. This highly addictive synthetic opioid is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.
As part of the investigations, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has seized over 440 pounds of fentanyl-related precursors, a quantity sufficient to cause the death of around 25 million Americans.
Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized that the DOJ’s efforts not only focus on combating Mexican cartels involved in fentanyl trafficking but also aim to disrupt Chinese chemical companies that supply these cartels with the necessary components to manufacture lethal fentanyl.
During a press conference, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that Chinese companies are being charged for trafficking fentanyl precursor chemicals into the United States, marking the first time such charges have been filed. The move follows the recent DOJ operation targeting leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, revealing the involvement of Chinese chemical companies in fueling the cartel’s fentanyl trafficking.
One of the indictments, unsealed in the Southern District of New York, names Hubei Amarvel Biotech Co. Ltd. (Amarvel Biotech), a Chinese chemical company, and its executives and employees. Those charged include Qingzhou Wang, also known as Bruce (Wang); Yiyi Chen, also known as Chiron (Chen); and FnuLnu, also known as Er Yang and Anita (Yang). Wang and Chen were arrested in June by DEA
agents and appeared in a federal court in Honolulu. They are currently detained and will be extradited to Manhattan for further proceedings.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York emphasized the significance of the charges, stating that the individuals from Amarvel Biotech are now in American custody and will face justice in an American courtroom. Amarvel Biotech, based in Wuhan, China, is accused of exporting large quantities of precursor chemicals used in the production of fentanyl and its analogs. The Justice Department noted that the company openly advertised these deadly chemicals online, marketing them to customers in Mexico, including the Sinaloa Cartel’s stronghold of Culiacan.
The Sinaloa Cartel, considered one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the Western Hemisphere, has been identified as a major contributor to the influx of fentanyl into the United States. The DOJ’s actions highlight the efforts to hold both the cartel and the Chinese chemical companies accountable for their roles in the distribution and production of fentanyl.
In the Eastern District of New York, two indictments have been unsealed targeting Chinese companies and their employees based in China. These indictments charge Anhui Rencheng Technology Co. Ltd. (Rencheng), Anhui Moker New Material Technology Co., Hefei GSK Trade Co. Ltd. (also known as Hebei Gesuke Trading Co. Ltd.), and Hebei Sinaloa Trading Co. Ltd. The charges include conspiracies to manufacture and distribute fentanyl, along with other related offenses. Additionally, several Chinese nationals have been charged with crimes such as fentanyl manufacturing and customs fraud conspiracy.
According to U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, the defendants knowingly supplied the necessary chemical components for fentanyl production to the United States and Mexico, even providing guidance on their usage. This dangerous drug has caused immense tragedy in New York City, Long Island, and throughout the country.
The defendant companies, along with similar entities, have played a significant role in the influx of lethal fentanyl into the United States, as stated by the Justice Department. The chemicals supplied by these companies have facilitated the large-scale production of fentanyl by cartels and other drug trafficking organizations in clandestine laboratories in Mexico. The resulting fentanyl is then distributed in the United States and elsewhere.
In additional efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on seven entities and six individuals in China in May, accusing them of supporting the production of counterfeit fentanyl-laced pills. Furthermore, the House of Representatives recently passed the Halt All Lethal Trafficking (HALT) of the Fentanyl Act, which aims to enhance penalties for fentanyl trafficking.