China sentenced nine individuals Thursday who were directly linked to a fentanyl trafficking ring, according to the Associated Press. Chinese officials worked alongside U.S. law enforcement to end the operation.

Liu Yong and Jiang Juhua were accused of both manufacturing and trafficking fentanyl, while the others were accused of trafficking the deadly narcotic. 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.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security received an alert in 2017 regarding a vendor linked to the group in the Chinese city of Xingtai, where they were operating a secret laboratory. The group was responsible for shipping fentanyl to the U.S. and several other countries.

Chinese officials said they are pursuing three similar cases of fentanyl trafficking in partnership with U.S. law enforcement.

The synthetic opioid is largely responsible for a recent spike in overdose death rates in this country. Sara A. Carter produced a documentary, “Not in Vein,” last year, which exposed the illicit trafficking of fentanyl into our borders. Carter warned that Fentanyl trafficking and the use of the synthetic narcotic to enhance street drugs is a direct threat to the nation. People exposed to only four grains of pure Fentanyl on their skin can overdose.

Further, federal and local law enforcement officials have warned that the enormity of  Fentanyl seizures throughout the United States is enough to categorize it as a weapon of mass destruction. An accidental release of the chemical or the use of the chemical in an attack on civilians could result in immediate deaths.

For example, authorities in one recent multimillion-dollar seizure in Ohio said the fentanyl was so large they described it as a “weapon of mass destruction” a form of chemical warfare.

Authorities seized 45 pounds of fentanyl in Montgomery County. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers out of Nogales, Arizona in January, made the largest fentanyl in U.S. history seizing 254 pounds of the deadly narcotic hidden in the floor compartment of a truck.

 

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