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China’s involvement in fentanyl crisis: making, manufacturing and exporting to Mexico, drug cartels

- SARA CARTER - STAFF - MAY 2, 2023 -

A senior legal research fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation and expert on criminal justice policy, drug policy, and regulatory policy explains just how deep China’s involvement in the fentanyl crisis runs.

“China is involved in at least three different ways in fentanyl making, manufacturing, exporting fentanyl to Mexico either directly or indirectly, and providing the Mexican cartels with advice on how best to produce,” explained Paul J. Larkin to Foreign Desk News.

Small and mid-level workers in Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical industries appear to be the main perpetrators in providing the resources and knowledge for Mexican drug cartels; these workers are well connected with members of the Communist Chinese Party.

“China is not only going to purchase the groceries, but it is also preparing the recipes for the drug cartel cook to use,” Larkin told The Foreign Desk.

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“Beijing participates in the money laundering aspect of drug trafficking. The money that the cartels send to China from their drug trade, Beijing then launders it. They certainly remain involved in the fentanyl problem that the US has,” Larkin added.

Chinese criminal syndicates have aided in the fentanyl crisis facing no repercussions from Beijing due to their political capital with Chinese authorities and government officials and the promotion of Beijing’s political, military, and economic goals.

…The drug operations conducted by several Chinese criminal actors include small-family-based groups to businesses that engage in highly diverse legal trade with organized crime groups.

…Chinese money laundering brokers have successfully worked around American and Mexican banking systems through avenues like trade-based laundering, protected and unprotected marine products and wood, real estate, cryptocurrencies, casinos, and bulk cash.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), in 2021, around 106,699 Americans died from fentanyl, growing in 2022, with the death toll being around 107,477, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Experts say that the consumption of fentanyl was through fake prescription pills, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.


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