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US targets Chinese, Mexican companies — RT World News

The United States has blacklisted several individuals and entities in China and Mexico accused of producing or selling equipment used to manufacture illegal drugs as part of President Joe Biden’s crackdown on the narcotics trade amid an epidemic of overdose across the United States.

The Treasury Department announced the new sanctions on Tuesday, saying they would target seven companies and six individuals based in China, as well as one company and three individuals in Mexico. All are believed to be involved in the sale of pill presses or machinery used to produce counterfeit pharmaceuticals, such as oxycodone. Fake pills often contain fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid responsible for tens of thousands of fatal overdoses each year.

“Treasury sanctions target every step of the deadly supply chain that is fueling the spike in fentanyl poisonings and deaths across the country,” Senior Treasury official Brian Nelson said in a statement.

Sanctioned entities include Chinese companies accused of selling pill presses, even shipping “scheduled drugs” in the United States for “manufacture of counterfeit pills”.

The Treasury has targeted Mexpacking Solutions, a Mexican company it says is “controlled by a Sinaloa Cartel tablet press supplier”, referring to the international drug syndicate. Three Mexican nationals affiliated with the company are also facing sanctions and have allegedly interacted with some of the Chinese companies supplying pill presses.

The United States has seen a sharp rise in opioid-related overdoses over the past 10 years, with fentanyl accounting for a large portion of deaths. In 2022, there were nearly 110,000 drug deaths nationwide, a record number for the United States, according to federal statistics. A study published in the medical journal Lancet last year highlighted the crisis further, predicting that the opioid epidemic would kill more than 1.2 million people by the end of the decade.

President Joe Biden recently authorized the deployment of reserve soldiers to the US-Mexico border to help combat illicit drug trafficking – a move consistent with Republican calls for military operations against Mexican cartels. Mexico, however, has criticized those efforts, with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejecting Washington’s proposal. “undue interference” in Mexican territory. Lopez Obrador insisted that “foreign agents” cannot enter Mexico without permission.

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