US launches prosecutions of Chinese companies on charges of trafficking fentanyl ingredients

Jun 23, 2023, 1:08 PM

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a press conference with U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, left,...

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a press conference with U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, left, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, right, to announce arrests and disruptions of the fentanyl precursor chemical supply chain on Friday, June 23, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges on Friday against four Chinese companies and eight individuals for allegedly trafficking the chemicals used to make the highly addictive painkiller fentanyl in the United States and Mexico.

The three separate indictments unsealed in federal court in New York represent the first prosecutions to charge China-based chemical companies and Chinese nationals with illegally selling the chemicals used to make fentanyl, which has been blamed for a deadly overdose crisis.

Federal prosecutors said the companies marketed the fentanyl precursor chemicals on their websites and social media accounts, advertised that they accepted payment in cryptocurrency and shipped them to drug traffickers including Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

“When I announced in April that the Justice Department had taken significant enforcement actions against the Sinaloa Cartel, I promised that the Justice Department would never forget the victims of the fentanyl epidemic,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release.

Garland said those actions include stopping Chinese chemical companies from “supplying the cartels with the building blocks they need to manufacture deadly fentanyl.”

An indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court charges the China-based chemical company Hubei Amarvel Biotech Co. as well as three company executives with fentanyl trafficking, precursor chemical importation and money laundering.

Prosecutors said Amarvel Biotech used deceptive practices to evade authorities, such as advertising that it could disguise its products as dog food, nuts or motor oil to ensure “safe” delivery to the United States and Mexico.

Two of the Amarvel Biotech executives were arrested earlier this month and appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Honolulu. They will be brought to New York to appear in Manhattan federal court. The third has not been arrested.

Two additional indictments unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn charge five other executives or employees and three Chinese companies, identified as Anhui Rencheng Technology Co., Anhui Moker New Material Technology Co. and Hefei GSK Trade Co., with offenses including conspiracy to manufacture and distribute fentanyl and customs fraud conspiracy. None of these individuals has been arrested.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said the defendants “knowingly distributed the chemical building blocks of fentanyl to the United States and Mexico” and provided advice on “how they should be used to manufacture this dangerous drug.”

Anne Milgram, administrator of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said the companies and individuals supplied drug traffickers “with the ingredients and scientific know-how needed to make fentanyl — a drug that continues to devastate families and communities across the United States, killing Americans from all walks of life.”

Information on attorneys for the defendants was not immediately available.

United States News

Hudson, 7, left, Callahan, 13, middle, and Keegan Pruente, 10, right, stand outside their school on...

Associated Press

More schools are adopting 4-day weeks. For parents, the challenge is day 5

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — It’s a Monday in September, but with schools closed, the three children in the Pruente household have nowhere to be. Callahan, 13, contorts herself into a backbend as 7-year-old Hudson fiddles with a balloon and 10-year-old Keegan plays the piano. Like a growing number of students around the U.S, the Pruente […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Sydney Carney walks through her home, which was destroyed by a wildfire on Aug. 11, 2023, in...

Associated Press

Residents prepare to return to sites of homes demolished in Lahaina wildfire 7 weeks ago

HONOLULU (AP) — From just outside the burn zone in Lahaina, Jes Claydon can see the ruins of the rental home where she lived for 13 years and raised three children. Little remains recognizable beyond the jars of sea glass that stood outside the front door. On Monday, officials are expected to begin lifting restrictions […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Kidnapped teen rescued from Southern California motel room after 4 days of being held hostage

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities rescued a 17-year-old boy in Southern California after he was kidnapped and held hostage for four days by captors who threatened to harm him if his family did not pay a $500,000 ransom. The teen was rescued Friday after law enforcement tracked him and his three kidnappers to a […]

7 hours ago

This Aug. 17, 2021 photo shows Quagga mussels cover the engine of a Bell P-39 Airacobra military pl...

Associated Press

Historians race to find Great Lakes shipwrecks before quagga mussels destroy the sites

An invasive mussel is destroying shipwrecks deep in the depths of the lakes, forcing archeologists and amateur historians into a race against time to find as many sites as they can before the region touching eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario loses any physical trace of its centuries-long maritime history.

7 hours ago

A sign marks a roadside rest stop that has been made to look like the historic security gate that a...

Associated Press

Birthplace of the atomic bomb braces for its biggest mission since the top-secret Manhattan Project

Los Alamos was the perfect spot for the U.S. government’s top-secret Manhattan Project.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Suspect arrested after shooting at the Oklahoma State Fair injures 1, police say

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — One person was injured when shots were fired during an argument between two groups of people at the Oklahoma State Fair on Saturday, sending a crowd of people running for safety, police said. One person was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon after the evening shooting, Oklahoma […]

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

US launches prosecutions of Chinese companies on charges of trafficking fentanyl ingredients