US Treasury sanctions China- and Mexico-based enablers of illicit, fentanyl-laced pill production

China. Image credit Unsplash

Washington/IBNS: The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 17 individuals and entities involved in the international proliferation of equipment used to produce illicit drugs.

These targets are directly or indirectly involved in the sale of pill press machines, die molds, and other equipment used to impress counterfeit trade markings of legitimate pharmaceuticals onto illicitly produced pills, often laced with fentanyl, frequently destined for U.S. markets.

“Treasury’s sanctions target every stage of the deadly supply chain fueling the surge in fentanyl poisonings and deaths across the country,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl constitute a leading cause of these deaths, devastating thousands of American families each year. 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.”

These designations, which target seven entities and six individuals based in China and one entity and three individuals based in Mexico, would not have been possible without the cooperation, support and ongoing collaboration among OFAC; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including the Special Operations Division; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and its El Paso Field Office; and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. These partnerships highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s strengthened whole-of-government offensive to save lives by disrupting illicit fentanyl supply chains around the globe. Pertaining to Mexico-based persons sanctioned today, this action was also coordinated closely with the Government of Mexico, including the Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (Mexico’s Financial Intelligence Unit).

Today, OFAC designated Chinese pill press supplier Youli Technology Development Co., Ltd.  (Youli) along with three Youli-affiliated Chinese nationals, Guo Chunyan, Guo Yunnian, and Guo Ruiguang, all located in Huizhou, China. Youli has shipped pill press machinery to individuals in the United States involved in the manufacture of counterfeit pills.

Youli ships the machinery using techniques intended to evade law enforcement scrutiny. In addition, Youli has shipped scheduled pharmaceuticals to the United States for counterfeit pill manufacturing.

Guo Chunyan and Guo Yunnian have supplied pill presses and dies to drug traffickers operating in the United States, including those involved with fentanyl-laced pills production.

OFAC designated Youli, Guo Chunyan, and Guo Yunnian pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14059 for having engaged in, or attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production.

OFAC designated Guo Ruiguang pursuant to E.O. 14059 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Youli.

OFAC also designated Shenzhen, China-located Yason General Machinery Co., Ltd.  (Yason), Hong Kong-registered but Shenzhen, China-based Yason Electronics Technology Co., Limited  (Yason Electronics), and Nanchang, China-located Shenzhen Yason General Machinery Co., Ltd. Nanchang Branch (Yason Nanchang), interrelated Chinese companies implicated in the supply of press equipment internationally. OFAC additionally designated Yason and Yason Electronics company official Fei Yiren (Fei), a Chinese national.

Yason sells pill press-related equipment and has worked with a Mexico-based pill equipment supplier and contact who previously provided equipment to a Sinaloa Cartel-linked individual.

This individual used the machines to create superlabs in Mexico with the capacity to produce millions of fentanyl-laced pills weekly. In 2017, Yason Electronics sent a pill press machine — in multiple packages and via the United States — to the contact in Mexico, the intended buyer of the equipment.

#China, #US, #USTreasury