Prisoners in Canada among alleged leaders in massive opioid ring: U.S. authorities

18 October, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Source WOIO

"More and more of our citizens are being killed by fentanyls", drugs that are 100 times as powerful as morphine and 50 times as strong as heroin.

"Xiaobing Yan, Jian Zhang and their respective associates represent one of the most significant drug threats facing the country - overseas organized crime groups capable of producing almost any synthetic drug imaginable, including fentanyl, and who attempt to hide their tracks with web-based sales, global shipments and cryptocurrency transactions", said Robert Patterson, acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The two men, identified as Jian Zhang and Xiaobing Yan, were indicted by grand juries in the Southern District of MS and the District of North Dakota for "separate conspiracies to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues into the United States".

USA officials would not say if the two traffickers had been arrested or their plants shut by the Chinese authorities. The United States does not have an extradition agreement with China.

An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court Monday charges Xiaobing Yan and 9W Technology Co.

"Unwary or inexperienced users often have no idea that they are ingesting fentanyl until it is too late".

The announcement comes amid heightened public attention on the administration's efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The drug is also a legal prescription painkiller.

President Trump's pick for the nation's drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., withdrew Tuesday from consideration following a Washington Post/60 Minutes report that Marino had helped usher legislation through Congress that curtailed the Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to crack down on drug distributors.

Two Chinese nationals, Xiaobang Yan, 40, and Jian Zhang, 38, were indicted as overall leaders of the group that operated from January 2013 through August 2016. Several deaths and serious illness have been tied directly to the alleged ring, US authorities said.

Rosenstein said the USA needs Chinese officials to do more to help the US crack down on fentanyl labs. Zhang is accused of operating at least four labs in China and selling to USA customers over the internet. They take advantage of the fact that the fentanyl molecule can be altered in numerous ways to create a fentanyl analogue that is not listed as illegal under United States and Chinese law.

According to Rosenstein, federal authorities "identified more than 100 distributors of synthetic opioids involved with Yan's manufacturing and distribution networks". Zhang was also charged with the deaths of four people in North Carolina, New Jersey, North Dakota and OR, and serious bodily injuries related to five others. Investigators became aware of him after police officers responded to a deadly overdose in Grand Forks, North Dakota and traced the supply chain, officials said.



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