- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 7, 2019

The White House hailed “concrete action” by China Thursday to stop the illicit flow of opioids into the U.S., after nine members of a fentanyl-smuggling ring were sentenced to prison terms by a Chinese court.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll said the punishment “is a direct result of President Trump’s strong leadership on this issue, and the personal engagement by many members of Congress in communicating our entire government’s commitment to saving American lives.”

“China’s fentanyl trafficking and production prosecution is a positive step in following through on the pledge secured by President Trump,” Mr. Carroll said. “We look forward to further cooperation to stop the flow of these deadly substances into the United States.”

The action comes as the two nations are working toward completing “phase one” of a comprehensive trade deal.

Mr. Trump got a pledge from Chinese President Xi Jinping last year to crack down on drug trafficking to the U.S. by designating all fentanyl products as controlled substances, and making people trafficking in them subject to maximum penalties.



The defendants in Thursday’s public court proceeding in the city of Hebei were convicted of selling and manufacturing narcotics. The ringleader, a 41-year-old man, received a suspended death sentence, while two other defendants received terms of life imprisonment.

The other conspirators were given sentences ranging from six months to 10 years in prison. Police confiscated 26 pounds of fentanyl in the operation and 42 pounds of alprazolam, sold under the trade name Xanax.

“The successful sentencing, especially the heavy sentencing of the principal criminals, fully demonstrates the Chinese government’s firm stance and determination to severely punish fentanyl-related crimes,” said Yu Haibin, deputy head of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, at a press conference after the hearing.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that has been blamed for nearly half of 72,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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