UPDATE - US Treasury Designates Chinese Drug Kingpins For Allegedly Fueling Opioid Crisis

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UPDATE - US Treasury Designates Chinese Drug Kingpins for Allegedly Fueling Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 22nd August, 2019) The United States designated several Chinese nationals and entities for their role in pushing narcotics that have fueled the US opioid crisis, the Treasury Department announced in a press release.

"The Chinese kingpins that OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States," the release said on Wednesday.

In addition to smaller US drug purchasers, who can order illegal drugs over the internet, the latest effort targets Fujing Zheng and the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), the release said.

Zheng and his father Guanghua Zheng were indicted in August 2018 for operating a conspiracy that manufactured and shipped deadly fentanyl analogues, cathinones, and cannabinoids to at least 37 US states and 25 countries, the release explained.

US Senator Marco Rubio applauded the move although he said the Trump administration should have done it much sooner.

"Today's action by the Administration is long overdue as it targets Chinese kingpins responsible for the nefarious international drug trafficking operation contributing to our nation's opioid crisis," Rubio said in a statement on Wednesday. "As a co-sponsor of the NDAA's anti-opioid measure, I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Trump to get the bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act signed into law and hold accountable China and other countries who are trafficking deadly synthetic opioids into our communities."

An estimated 68,557 US drug users suffered fatal overdoses in 2018, a rate of nearly 200 daily, according to preliminary government estimates.

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