Recent statements by DEA Director Anne Milgram have made it clear that fentanyl, which has killed thousands of people in the United States by overdose, is produced with chemicals exported from China to criminal networks, reported ABC.
Milgram said, ““[W]e do see a large number of young people who are purchasing pills. What we know is that China is providing chemicals to Mexico, to the criminal drug networks that are then mass-producing these fake prescription pills. They’re being sold as if they were Xanax, as if they were Oxy, as if they were Percocet. But there’s no Xanax, no Oxy, no Percocet in them. They’re fentanyl. […] Right now, this is the leading cause of death. Overdoses are the leading cause of death for men between the age of 18 and 45.”
Fentanyl overdose deaths have resulted in 58 overdoses and 29 deaths this year in Wilton Manors, Florida; Austin, Texas; Cortez, Colorado; Commerce City, Colorado; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C., according to the DEA.
Drug traffickers use fentanyl because it is highly addictive. They usually mix it with other illicit drugs in powder and pill form, or sell it as “cocaine” or in pills that look like the original ones.
The CDC estimates that in 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
“Fentanyl poisonings are at an all-time high,” said Sheriff Mike Milstead, Minnehaha County, South Dakota Chair, Drug Enforcement Committee, National Sheriffs’ Association. “These are not isolated incidents. These are happening in every state and every county in America, leaving behind grieving families. Let us be clear: These poisonings are part of a strategic maneuver by the cartels and it must be stopped.”
In 2021, Milgram argued that hundreds of thousands of unregulated chemical companies in China are shipping these drugs. “China knows what it’s doing,” according to CBS.
Currently, China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked to the United States. Fentanyl seizures from China average less than one kilogram in weight. According to a DEA Intelligence report, they often have a concentration of more than 90 percent pure fentanyl.
Mexican criminal organizations are responsible for producing quantities of illicit drugs and pills containing fentanyl, some even using clandestine laboratories and increasingly sophisticated processing methods.
The DEA explained that fentanyl is smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border in low-concentration, high-volume shipments. Kilogram seizures typically contain a fentanyl concentration of less than 10%.
The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation are likely the main trafficking groups responsible for smuggling fentanyl into the United States.