Fentanyl As A Soft War Weapon

Mike Leslie
April 17, 2024

The House Select Committee on China recently discovered that the People's Republic of China (PRC) plays a vital role in the flow of Fentanyl into the U.S.

Inputs that matter: According to the House Select Committee report, "The fentanyl crisis has helped [PRC-linked] organized criminal groups become the world's premier money launderers, enriched the [PRC] chemical industry, and has had a devastating impact on Americans."

  • "Rather than investigating drug traffickers, [PRC] security services have not cooperated with U.S. law enforcement and have even notified targets of U.S. investigations when they received requests for assistance," said the report.
  • An NPR investigation in 2020 found a web of PRC companies whose employees were openly marketing fentanyl precursors and selling them to clients in Mexico and the United States.

The opportunity: The report was released just ahead of a scheduled hearing Tuesday at which Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., are expected to detail what they argue is China's complicity in fueling the fentanyl crisis in the U.S.

  • NBC reports, "U.S. officials have identified China as the main source of the key ingredients drug cartels in Mexico use to synthesize fentanyl."
  • "We're taking action to significantly reduce the flow of precursor chemicals and pill presses from China to the Western hemisphere," President Joe Biden said, following a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California.

Zoom in: Barron reports,"The synthetic opioid has caused an addiction epidemic in the United States and is responsible for tens of thousands of overdose deaths a year."

  • "Illicit fentanyl-type drugs accounted for over 100,000 US deaths last year," said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Air Forwarders Association.
  • "And now the White House is looking at intermediaries – freight forwarders and others – as possible tools in the fight against illicit fentanyl traffic coming into the U.S."
  • "But any notion of 100% physical inspection of every package is a non-starter to us."

Between the lines: The U.S. fentanyl crisis is a hot topic for the 2024 presidential election.

  • "There is a PRC subsidy program in place that gives money for people to make illegal drugs and send it outside of China," the majority committee aide said.

Follow the money: Mexico's President López Obrador confirms that "Fentanyl is produced in the United States, in Canada, and Mexico. And the chemical precursors come from Asia."

  • "In the United States, fentanyl was introduced by suppliers – first Chinese criminal networks, Chinese producers, later on, Mexican cartels," explains Dr. Vanda Felab-Brown, Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution.
  • "The fentanyl trade has allowed Chinese organized crime to become the world's premier money launderers with U.S. law enforcement finding evidence indicating that money laundering schemes involved Chinese government officials and the Chinese Communist Party elite," the majority committee aide concluded.

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Read More

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/china-funding-us-fentanyl-crisis-house-panel-says-new-report-rcna147952
  2. https://www.barrons.com/news/us-house-committee-says-china-subsidizes-fentanyl-chemical-exports-f11251f6
  3. https://www.npr.org/2024/04/16/1244964595/fentanyl-china-precursor-overdose
  4. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2024-03-21/fentanyl-crisis-at-center-of-us-2024-presidential-race-as-deaths-reach-270-000
  5. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mexican-president-andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-talks-immigration-cartels-fentanyl-crisis-60-minutes-transcript/
  6. https://theloadstar.com/white-house-calls-on-forwarders-in-its-war-on-illegal-fentanyl-shipments/