US imposes sanctions on Chinese companies in action over fentanyl

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Washington on Friday imposed sanctions on two entities based in China, accusing them supplying precursor chemicals to drug cartels in Mexico for the production of illicit fentanyl intended for the United States, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

The Treasury said it also designated five people based in China and Guatemala in the action targeting fentanyl production.

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“Illicit fentanyl is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year,” the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.

“Treasury, as part of the whole-of-government effort to respond to this crisis, will continue to vigorously apply our tools to prevent the transfer of precursor chemicals and machinery necessary to produce this drug,” Nelson said.

The Treasury in the statement said it slapped sanctions on China-based chemical companies Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co Ltd and Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co Ltd, as well as four Chinese nationals.

Three of those targeted were indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury in US District Court in New York for conspiracy charges, including fentanyl importation and money laundering, the Treasury said.

Also targeted was a Guatemala-based broker of fentanyl precursor chemicals, who the Treasury said buys fentanyl precursor on behalf of Mexico-based drug traffickers.

Mexico and the United States on Thursday agreed to ramp up the fight against fentanyl trafficking. Both countries have in recent weeks asked China to help curb the shipment of precursor chemicals coming from the Asian country, in order to prevent production of the synthetic drug responsible for thousands of deaths in the United States.

Read more: Mexico announces its biggest seizure of pure fentanyl

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