China-US jointly fight drugs

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/29 23:58:40

Lenient rules lead to huge US demand for fentanyl: observer


China and the US worked together for the first time to crack down on an international fentanyl smuggling case, and experts said this is a significant step in drug enforcement cooperation between the two countries.

China has been actively cooperating with other countries to stop the spread of new psychoactive substances (NPS), Deng Ming, deputy head of China's National Narcotic Control Commission (NNCC), said at a press conference on Wednesday in Beijing.

The NNCC said it tipped off the US government hundreds of times in 2017 to track NPS drugs and their buyers.

In September 2017, the US informed China that a Chinese citizen named "Dianna" was involved in a case of fentanyl smuggling to the US, according to a document the Ministry of Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

After receiving the information, more than 100 police in Xingtai, North China's Hebei Province began to investigate the case.

A three-month investigation led to the arrest of 21 people, including Wang Fengxi, a Xingtai local, who allegedly created a global NPS sales network that helped him sell NPS drugs to countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and Germany.

The police destroyed the group's drug production, transportation, trafficking and smuggling activities within China, the NCB said.

Chinese investigators are gathering evidence in the US, the NCB said. It marks the first time that China and the US have worked together to solve a fentanyl-related case.

Deng said China attaches great importance to cracking down on the manufacturing and smuggling of NPS.

Local police and customs bureaus nationwide were asked to regularly provide information about NPS, Deng said.

In 2017, 53 people were arrested for producing NPS, and 1,178 kilograms of the substance were seized.However, those involved in such activities have succeeded in making adjustments despite tight controls. For example, once they learn that certain substances are regulated, they would quickly make new types of NPS. They've also learned to more clandestinely communicate and smuggle, relying more on instant messaging apps such as Skype, and transferring money through underground banks and even Bitcoins, Deng said.

He said China has succeeded in busting more NPS smuggling cases.

Aside from ketamine (a type of NPS), drug users are increasingly using cannabinoid and methcathinone.

Pointing fingers

Despite greater Chinese efforts to control NPS, the US has frequently blamed fentanyl from China for its opioid crisis.

"It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the US Postal System from China. We can, and must, end this now!" US President Donald Trump tweeted on August 21.

China has added 32 NPS to its regulation, Deng said, noting that the new regulation takes effect on Saturday. China has regulated 170 NPS, including 25 fentanyl substances, more than those on the UN's fentanyl control list (21).

China does not deny the fact that some of the NPS and fentanyl that enter the US come from China, but it is incorrect to say most of the fentanyl in the US comes from China, Wei Xiaojun, an NCB official, said at a press briefing in November 2017.

Lance Ho, the US Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) representative in Beijing, praised China's contributions to regulating fentanyl at the press briefing in 2017.

"Once China controls substances, it has a dramatic effect on the US in terms of saving lives… once they do, we see a drop in the use [of drugs] in the US," Ho said.

There is a huge demand for fentanyl in the US because of the country's lax regulations on prescription drugs, said Hua Zhendong, technical director of the China NNCC's National Narcotics Laboratory. "The US should first start regulating the number of its drug users before pointing fingers at others."



Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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