Washington [US], June 1 (ANI): The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions against 17 individuals and entities in China and Mexico, accusing them of providing equipment that Mexican drug cartels use to develop fentanyl-spiked fake pills for the US market, VOA News reported.
The decision of the US Treasury Department coordinated with the Mexican government is part of the US crackdown on the flow of fentanyl and other illicit drugs from Mexico that are claiming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, as per the news report.
The nine companies and eight individuals sanctioned by the US are "directly or indirectly" involved in the sale of pill press machines and other equipment used to stamp fake pills with counterfeit markings of legitimate pills, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
The pills are often laced with fentanyl and sold online or on the streets to unsuspecting American customers, as per the VOA News report. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson in a statement said, "Treasury's sanctions target every stage of the deadly supply chain fueling the surge in fentanyl poisonings and deaths across the country."Nelson further said, "We remain committed to using all authorities against enablers of illicit drug production to disrupt this deadly global production and counter the threat posed by these drugs." The sanctions target seven companies and six people in China and one company and three people in Mexico, VOA News reported.
The Chinese individuals and entities targeted by the US include Youli Technology Development Co., Ltd, a pill press supplier, and Yason General Machinery Co, Ltd, a vendor of pill press-related equipment. According to US Treasury Department, the two firms have worked with a Mexico-based pill equipment supplier who previously sold supplies to an individual related to the Sinaloa cartel, one of two cartels behind the export of fentanyl to the United States.
The Sinaloa-linked individual "used the machines to create super labs in Mexico with the capacity to produce millions of fentanyl-laced pills weekly," the US Treasury Department said. The Mexican firm that has been sanctioned is Mexpacking Solutions, a Chihuahua, Mexico-based business that sells pill presses and other equipment, VOA News report.
US Treasury Department said that the business is controlled by a Sinaloa Cartel pill press supplier and used as a cover for an individual involved with the development of fentanyl-spiked pills and with assisting Mexico-based cartel members with pill press operations, VOA News reported.
The US has imposed sanctions as Washington grapples with an opioid overdose crisis that claimed more than 100,000 American lives in the 12-month period ending in August 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that synthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused more than two-thirds of those deaths. (ANI)