Saturday, 23 September 2023 02:12 GMT

US Treasury Sanctions China Mexico-Based Enablers Of Counterfeit, Fentanyl-Laced Pill Production

(MENAFN- Caribbean News Global)

– Action Taken in Coordination with US Law Enforcement and the Government of Mexico

WASHINGTON, USA – Today, the US 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 US 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 US 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).

A pill press, also called a tablet press or a tableting machine, is a mechanical device that compresses powdered substances into tablets of uniform size and weight. The US government regulates pill press machine importation. These machines vary in size and capacity, each of which can produce thousands of pills daily. The lack of controls and safeguards in illicit pill production often results in inconsistent and lethal dosages.

Illicit drugs in pill form, including those laced with fentanyl, may be blank or bear custom impressions. They may also be counterfeits of scheduled drugs, bearing trademarked wordmarks without authorization, such as“M30” for schedule II oxycodone products or“Xanax” for schedule IV alprazolam products.

Manufacturing illicit drugs in pill form requires a pill press machine, a controlled substance, and die molds – metallic pill press components bearing impressions that are punched onto pills. A die is fixed to a pill press machine in order to punch repeated impressions during pill mass-production. If the impressions on a die and on the pills it punches mimic trademarked pharmaceuticals, the die and impressed pills are counterfeit.

Facilitation of equipment importation by bad actors is sometimes attempted in a manner designed to evade law enforcement scrutiny, which can include the mislabeling of shipments, the use of circuitous shipment routes, and the shipment of equipment parts in piecemeal fashion.

for more information on the individuals and entities designated today, click here.


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