China Is Selling Mexican Drug Cartels ‘Industrial Pill Press Equipment’ To Manufacture Fentanyl, DHS Official Says
China is selling “industrial pill press equipment” used to turn powdered fentanyl into pills to Mexican cartels, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official’s testimony Wednesday.
Over 70,000 people died of drug overdoses involving fentanyl in the United States in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Matthew Millhollin, assistant director with DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations, (HSI) briefed Senate members on what steps DHS is taking to combat the illicit fentanyl trade.
Millhollin said the Mexican cartels, using chemicals obtained from China, produce fentanyl-laced pills on an industrial scale to be smuggled to the United States.
“In order to manufacture these pills, Mexican cartels require industrial pill press equipment to turn powdered fentanyl into pill form. The Mexican cartels are purchasing these pill presses directly from Chinese manufacturers who are producing the equipment specifically for illicit activity,” said Millhollin during the testimony.
“Moreover, as Mexican Cartels have taken over fentanyl production and operate on an industrial scale, they are procuring precursor chemicals from China and synthesizing these chemicals in Mexico to produce fentanyl,” said Millhollin during the testimony.
In April, during a visit with Mexican government officials, China denied their involvement in the trafficking of fentanyl to Mexico and blamed the problem on the United States, according to an ABC News report.
Most of the fentanyl killing Americans is coming from abroad, starting as precursor chemicals in China before being turned into the deadly drug by Mexican cartels and then shipped via mail or smuggled across the border into the United States.
— Senator Katie Boyd Britt (@SenKatieBritt) May 3, 2023
“The pill presses that are used to press that finished fentanyl into pills are coming in from China exclusively. We just seized over 200 pill presses at a warehouse in Los Angeles. This came in directly from China. This problem begins and ends in China,” said Millhollin in the testimony.
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