9 sentenced for fentanyl production, trafficking

China sentences three in fentanyl trafficking case after US tip

China sentences three in fentanyl trafficking case after US tip

It has been blamed for worsening the opioid crisis in the USA - and Washington has long called on Beijing to do more to shut down the pipeline of the deadly drug that flows from Chinese labs to American communities.

A Chinese court has imposed a suspended death sentence on one accused drug trafficker and hit eight others with life sentences and other prison terms, after the nine Chinese citizens pleaded guilty to smuggling fentanyl to the U.S.

Much of the world's fentanyl is believed to be made in China, and the drug had become a point of contention between the US and China as fentanyl-related overdose deaths rose in the United States.

The court in northern Hebei province described the case as the first successful joint U.S. Yong was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve, Juhua and Wang Fengxi were both sentenced to life in prison, and six others connected to the operation received sentences between six months to 10 years. They arrested more than 20 criminal suspects and seized 11.9 kilograms (26.23 pounds) of fentanyl as well as 19.1 kilograms (42.11 pounds) of other drugs.

Liu had been accused of manufacturing and trafficking synthetic drugs from the lab in eastern China's Jiangsu province.

The three defendants with the toughest sentences were "lured by high profit and huge demand" from USA buyers, the Xingtai Intermediate People's Court said. The move means that those who produce or distribute fentanyl can receive the maximum punishment for drug trafficking - death.

The nine defendants were brought in surrounded by guards and stood facing court officials to hear their sentences read.

Moore said officers in New Orleans obtained in August 2017 the contact details of a supplier in China known as "Diana".

The investigation marked a rare instance of cooperation between the United States and China on the fentanyl and opioid epidemic.

"During the investigation, we have provided information on more than 50 suspicious postal packages to the United States authorities, which has led to three arrests so far".

After the meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the G20 Summit in December, China agreed to list all fentanyl derivatives as controlled substances.

The two countries have since pledged to work together to fight the proliferation of the drug. According to the reports of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500000 Americans lost their lives due to drug overdoses at the end of 2017.

Deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses in the USA surged to 31,600 in 2018 from 19,400 in 2016.

"But until they address the deeper problems, such as the tax credits companies get for selling certain chemicals and go after the powerful players, they are not going to be able to stop the flow of fentanyl and fentanyl precursors".

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