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China Sentences 9 to Jail for Smuggling Fentanyl to US

XINGTAI, CHINA – Nine people, one with a suspended death sentence, were imprisoned by a Chinese court on Thursday for smuggling fentanyl into the United States, saying that this was the first such case on which the two countries worked together.
China faced US criticism for not doing enough to prevent fentanyl from flowing into the US, and the issue has become yet another irritant in ties already strained by a bruising trade war that the two are now working towards ending.
The declaration of the positive action against smugglers comes with the hope that the two countries will conclude an interim trade agreement.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is highly addictive, 50 times more powerful than heroin. Because of its relatively low price, it is often used to produce counterfeit drugs, and it has played an increasingly central role in a US opioid crisis.
US-China teamwork Yu Haibin, a senior official with China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, told reporters in Xingtai’s northern city where the case was heard that Chinese and US law enforcement had worked together to break the ring that smuggled fentanyl and other opioids into the US via courier.
A suspended death sentence was given to one of the people sentenced by the court, which is normally commuted to life in prison in practice, and two were sentenced to life sentences, Yu said.
According to the United States, in 2017, more than 28,000 synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths were reported in the United States, mostly from fentanyl-related substances.
U.S. drug enforcement has pointed to China as the source and supply of fentanyl. China insists that most of the illicit heroin entering the US comes from China, and says the US must do more to reduce demand.
Yu said that no one country could solve the issue of fentanyl.
“If it is not possible to reduce drug demand efficiently, it is very difficult to tackle the opioid problem in practice,” Yu said.
US President Donald Trump charged Chinese President Xi Jinping in August with failing to fulfill a promise to crack down on fentanyl and its analogs.
Yu said China is willing to work with US law enforcement and all other foreign colleagues to combat drugs and “continue to contribute the expertise and strength of China to global drug control.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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