Justice Department Indicts 2 Chinese Nationals In Synthetic Opioid Case

Source WOIO

The indictment is one of two nationwide involving separate defendants accused of related charges involving massive shipments of deadly drugs sold on the Internet and sent to buyers through the mail, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release Tuesday.

On Sept. 20, Jian Zhang, 38, of China, five Canadian citizens, two residents of Florida, and a resident of New Jersey were indicted in the District of North Dakota for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in the United States, conspiracy to import the drugs from Canada and China, a money laundering conspiracy, an worldwide money laundering conspiracy, and operation of a continuing criminal enterprise. "Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine". It has been linked to a rash of overdose deaths across the US. "This individual had been using the crypto-currency Bitcoin to buy fentanyl, heroin, and other drugs over the Internet for more than a year, using an encrypted website on the Dark Web.Dogged agents and prosecutors traced the source of the illegal drugs through Oregon, Canada, and eventually to Jian Zhang in China". The chemicals allegedly killed and injured people in several states, and surely caused misery to many thousands of people.

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.

They said Yan operated at least two chemical plants in China able to produce fentanyl by the tonne. Using different names and company identities, Yan operated websites advertising and selling fentanyl over a period of six years, selling directly to USA customers in multiple U.S. cities.

Patterson insisted that the DEA has not let up on policing the industry and has the tools to do so, but would not say if the agency was investigating any of the major prescription opioid distributors.

Yan was indicted in the Southern District of MS on two counts of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute multiple controlled substances, including fentanyl, and seven counts of manufacturing and distributing the drugs in specific locations. His indictment was made public on Tuesday. They determined that another Grand Forks residents supplied the fentanyl.




USA officials alleged Zhang had four fentanyl-producing laboratories and sold the drug over the Internet, paid for by crypto-currencies and shipped by worldwide parcel services.

The duo are among five Canadians facing charges, US authorities said.

Rosenstein, who discussed the problem with Chinese officials last week during a high-level dialogue on law enforcement and cybersecurity, would not say whether the labs have been shut down. Zhang and eight others were charged with conspiracy to sell the drugs in at least 11 states, and conspiracy to import the drugs through China and Canada.

Zhang's charges relate to four people's deaths in New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota and OR in 2014 and 2015, and serious bodily injuries to five others, the DOJ said.

Yan faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, if convicted.

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