Friday, 29 September, 2023

US sanctions Chinese, Mexican entities over drug equipment

US sanctions Chinese, Mexican entities over drug equipment

Popular News

Washington has slapped sanctions on 17 individuals and companies in China and Mexico over the supply of pill press machines and other equipment used to make illegal drugs.

The tools helped make illicitly produced pills, often laced with fentanyl, appear to be legitimate pharmaceuticals, according to a US Treasury Department statement released on Tuesday.

The blacklisting covers seven entities and six individuals based in China and one entity and three individuals based in Mexico.

"Treasury's sanctions target every stage of the deadly supply chain fueling the surge in fentanyl poisonings and deaths across the country," Brian E. Nelson, the department's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the statement.

"Counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl constitute a leading cause of these deaths, devastating thousands of American families each year," he added.

"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 United States says China has facilitated Mexico's illegal drug trade by supplying pill-making equipment to cartels.

One of the companies sanctioned, Yason General Machine, was accused of selling to a Mexico-based supplier and contact who had previously provided equipment to an individual linked to the Sinaloa cartel.

The Chinese embassy in the United States condemned the sanctions on Tuesday.

"The US itself is the root cause of its drug problems," a spokesperson for the embassy said in response to a question about the sanctions.

Last year 105,452 people in the United States died of a drug overdose, according to provisional data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 79 percent of the deaths involved opioids like fentanyl, which is estimated to be 50 times more powerful than heroin.