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Chinese suppliers have been flooding the US and Canada with a deadly drug
The dozen packages were shipped from China to mail centers and residences in Southern California.
One box was labeled as a “Hole Puncher.”
In fact, it was a quarter-ton pill press, which federal investigators allege was destined for a suburban Los Angeles drug lab.
The other packages, shipped throughout January and February, contained materials for manufacturing fentanyl, an opioid so potent that in some forms it can be deadly if touched.
When it comes to the illegal sale of fentanyl, most of the attention has focused on Mexican cartels that are adding the drug to heroin smuggled into the United States.
But Chinese suppliers are providing both raw fentanyl and the machinery necessary for the assembly-line production of the drug powering a terrifying and rapid rise of fatal overdoses across the United States and Canada, according to drug investigators and court documents.
“We have seen an influx of fentanyl directly from China,” said Carole Rendon, the acting US attorney for the northern district of Ohio in Cleveland. “It’s being shipped by carrier. It’s hugely concerning because fentanyl is so incredibly deadly.”
The China connection is allowing local drug dealers in North America to mass produce fentanyl in pill form, in some cases producing tablets that look identical to an oft-abused version of the prescription painkiller OxyContin. It also has been added to Xanax pills. And last week, fentanyl pills made to resemble the painkiller hydrocodone were blamed for a wave of overdoses in the Sacramento area, including nine deaths.
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