4 thoughts on “How China Uses Mexico To Send Fentanyl to The United States

  1. Peter Schweitzer has done a marvelous job at documenting the complexities of the fentanyl networks but it is not being overlooked by the DEA .

    Justice Department Announces Eight Indictments Against China Based Chemical Manufacturing Companies and Employees

    October 03, 2023
    DEA Administrator
    Administrator Milgram Remarks As Delivered

    Good Afternoon. Fentanyl is the greatest threat to Americans today. It is devastating families across our country and killing Americans from all walks of life. And it is the leading cause of death for Americans today between the ages of 18 and 45.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration is actively targeting every single aspect of the global fentanyl supply chain—so that we can put an end to the most devastating drug crisis our country has ever seen.

    The two drug cartels that are responsible for fentanyl coming into the United States are the Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels. They work with chemical companies based in the People’s Republic of China to get their raw materials, which are chemicals called fentanyl precursors. Nearly all fentanyl precursors come from China. These precursors are then made into fentanyl.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Companies in China also manufacture other synthetic or man-made drugs—that make the fentanyl threat even more addictive and even more deadly. These drugs include xylazine and nitazenes, which are then mixed with fentanyl to extend the high and increase the cartels’ profits.

    DEA has taken the lead in these cases, investigating and holding accountable the companies and individuals in China and elsewhere who are responsible for these poisons. Today, we announce 8 indictments, charging 8 companies and 12 individuals, for importing into the United States fentanyl precursors, xylazine, and other man-made or synthetic chemicals.

    We have seized more than 80 kilograms of synthetic chemicals in these investigations—enough, when mixed with other chemicals, to make more than 48 million deadly doses of fentanyl.

    As I said before, precursor chemicals are turned into deadly fentanyl, and xylazine and nitazenes are then added to make that fentanyl even deadlier— killing Americans, both young and old.

    Let’s talk about xylazine. Xylazine is known on the street as “Tranq” and is a veterinary drug used to sedate animals, like horses and cattle. It has no legitimate use in humans. But drug traffickers mix xylazine with fentanyl because it extends the high and serves as filler. When it ends up in humans, it can cause human tissue to rot and lead to amputation. It also does not respond to Narcan, a drug used to prevent fentanyl poisoning and overdose. In other words—xylazine makes the deadliest drug threat, fentanyl, even deadlier.

    DEA has seized xylazine-fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states and in Washington, D.C. We know where this xylazine comes from—it comes as powder from China and as liquid diverted from veterinary supply chains.

    In one of the cases being announced today, DEA agents seized more than 300 grams of xylazine shipped from a company in China to Miami, and paid for in Bitcoin. That same company shipped xylazine to a fentanyl trafficker in Philadelphia multiple times a month. When agents conducted a search of the trafficker’s home, they found 1,500 counterfeit pills, two pill presses, a powder mixture of fentanyl and xylazine, and two bottles of liquid xylazine.

    Despite all of this, xylazine is not yet a controlled substance. This is why it is so important for it to be scheduled.

    We also found nitazenes in these cases. Nitazenes are dangerous synthetic opioids that can be as powerful, or even more powerful, than fentanyl. They have no legitimate use. In April 2022, based on the work of DEA chemists and agents, I signed an emergency scheduling order placing 7 nitazenes into Schedule I. In one of the cases announced today, companies and individuals in China are charged with shipping two of those nitazenes to Georgia and to South Florida.

    In these cases, we also found fentanyl analogues, like fluorofentanyl. These analogues are a treacherous attempt to work around the law: every time we make one substance illegal, the drug cartels and their chemical suppliers switch to another that is slightly different at the molecular level but has the same impact. DEA is doing its part to schedule each fentanyl analogue it finds one at a time—but we need permanent class-wide scheduling of fentanyl related substances, and we stand ready to work with Congress to get this done.

    Despite all of the different synthetic chemicals we found in these cases, a few things remained constant. The chemicals were cheap—a deadly dose cost mere cents. At prices like these, the amount of deadly drugs that can be made is limitless. The chemicals were sold online. On public websites and through encrypted applications like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Wickr. The chemicals were shipped through common carriers, by air and by ground—through the postal service, UPS, and FedEx. The chemicals were carefully packaged to deceive customs inspectors. And the chemicals were paid for in every way—Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal, Alibaba, bank transfers, and most commonly Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to make it harder for us to follow the money.

    This is the unprecedented threat that we are dealing with. And it is the reason why 110,757 Americans died from drug poisonings in 2022 alone.

    Today’s indictments target the threat where it starts.

    I want to thank this incredible team that is here and has assembled all of us working together have had an incredible impact in this investigation and I hope, and more work to come. I want to pay a particular tribute to DEA’s Miami Field Division, our Counternarcotic Cyber Investigations Task Force, and our DEA Tampa District Office Chemical Express Group. I also am deeply indebted to our prosecution partners in the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, specifically U.S. Attorneys Markenzy Lapointe and Roger Handberg, as well as the line prosecutors who all worked tirelessly with our agents and Intel analysts on these investigations.

    Today’s charges continue DEA’s work to target the global fentanyl supply chain. We will not rest or relent, until this crisis ends. There is more to come. Thank you.

    1. Fred, I think we need to hold accountable countries that are killing our people, or doing things that result in our people getting killed. Ironically, China and Mexico are both huge trading “partners”. But they are killing our people.

  2. Press Release

    DEA Issues Letter to E-Commerce Companies on the Sale of Pill Presses Used to Make Fentanyl Pills

    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration today issued a letter to e-commerce companies regarding the sale of pill presses. As regulated entities under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), e-commerce platforms are generally required to comply with CSA recordkeeping, identification, and reporting requirements on the distribution, importation, and exportation of pill press machines.

    The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented drug poisoning epidemic. In 2022, approximately 110,757 Americans were killed by drug poisonings. Approximately 70% of these drug poisonings involved fentanyl. The drug cartels primarily responsible for manufacturing fentanyl and smuggling it into the United States are the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Cartel. These cartels, their members and associates, and other drug traffickers are using pill presses to shape fentanyl powder into pills, and they are using stamps to imprint markings and logos onto those pills as they are pressed. With these tools, criminal actors are able to produce pills that look like legitimate prescription medication—like oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall—but are not. Those pills actually contain fentanyl and other deadly drugs. Criminals then sell those pills on social media and in our communities, often to people who do not know that the pills are not real or that they contain deadly drugs.

    In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 79 million fake pills containing fentanyl—a more than 33% increase from the year before. DEA laboratory testing currently indicates that 7 out of 10 pills contain a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl.

    DEA has found that pill presses and stamps that can be used to make fentanyl pills are being offered for sale on various e-commerce platforms. E-commerce entities selling pill press machines are generally “regulated persons” under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 802(38), and therefore, subject to the recordkeeping, identification, and reporting requirements of 21 U.S.C. § 830. As regulated entities, e-commerce platforms are required to comply with CSA recordkeeping and reporting requirements on the distribution, importation, and exportation of pill press machines. This means that they must collect information on the buyer and seller and provide notice to the DEA of any sale, import, export, or transfer. Please see more detailed guidance of reporting requirements at https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/.

    In 2019, DEA launched the Industry Liaison Project, in which it engaged with more than two dozen e-commerce companies, websites, and domain registrars about the sale of pill presses online and related regulatory requirements. In response to this outreach, several companies—including Amazon and Etsy—banned the sale of pill presses and stamps altogether and removed these products from their websites.

    “Drug traffickers are killing Americans by selling fentanyl hidden in fake pills made to look like real prescription medicines. This is possible because drug traffickers are able to buy the tools they need, like pill presses and stamps, online,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “E-commerce platforms cannot turn a blind eye to the fentanyl crisis and to the sale of pill presses on their platforms. They must do their part to protect the public, and when they do not, DEA will hold them accountable.”

    DEA will continue to use every tool at its disposal to help fight this drug poisoning and overdose crisis and to save American lives.

    For more information on tableting and encapsulating machines, visit DEA pill press resource webpage. For more information on fentanyl and fake pills, visit One Pill Can Kill | DEA.gov.


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