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Justice Department Announces First-Ever Indictments Against Chinese Opioid Manufacturers

The Justice Department announced that they've indicted two Chinese nationals for manufacturing and selling fentanyl and other deadly opiates over the Internet. The DOJ says it's the first time Chinese-based opioid manufacturers have been charged with crimes typically reserved for the most powerful drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.

According to the Department of Justice, one of the men ran two chemical plants in China that produced high quantities of fentanyl and similar drugs and the other man owned four labs in China doing the same thing. They then sold their products over the Internet. The men are designated "Consolidated Priority Organization Targets," which is typically reserved for high-level drug traffickers (i.e. drug cartel leaders), and the two men are the first time Chinese-based manufacturers have been given that label.

Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous opiates available. It currently accounts for more than 20,000 overdose deaths every year in the United States, which is more than meth, cocaine and even heroin. 

While it might seem like an impressive feat to indict the two men, it's unclear if anything will actually happen in their court cases. Both men are based in China, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. This means the Chinese government has absolutely no obligation to arrest the two men and turn them over to American authorities. However Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he's optimistic the Chinese government will take action based off a meeting he had two weeks ago with China’s minister of public security.

Yesterday President Trump announced his plan to declare a national emergency over America's opioid crisis. Of course, there's no telling what exactly that will mean. And it will almost certainly not involve increasing the availability of medical marijuana, which is proven to treat many of the same conditions that opioids are prescribed for without any of the dangerous side effects.

So it looks like the American government is continuing to fight the opioid crisis with one hand tied behind their back.


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