Friday December 6, 2019

US to Crack Down on Chinese Traffickers of Deadly Fentanyl

The Treasury identified Zheng Fujing, 36, and a company he controls, Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology, and a partner, Zheng Guanghua

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Officials of Ministry of Public Security, National Health Commission and National Medical Products Administration attend a news conference on fentanyl-related substances control, in Beijing, China April, 1, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS. VOA

The US Treasury took action Wednesday to crack down on Chinese traffickers of deadly fentanyl, sanctioning producer-exporters and warning banks on financial schemes used to distribute the synthetic opioid behind thousands of US overdose deaths.

The Treasury identified Zheng Fujing, 36, and a company he controls, Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology, and a partner, Zheng Guanghua, as a major, Shanghai-based production fentanyl production and trafficking organization.

The Zheng drug trafficking organization, the Treasury said, produced and shipped hundreds of controlled substances, including fentanyl analogues such as carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

“Zheng created and maintained numerous websites to advertise and sell illegal drugs in more than 35 languages,” it said.

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The US Treasury took action Wednesday to crack down on Chinese traffickers of deadly fentanyl, sanctioning producer-exporters and warning banks on financial schemes. Pixabay

Moreover, it said, Zheng was producing counterfeit cancer pills that replace the active cancer-fighting ingredient with “dangerous synthetic drugs.”

Yan, meanwhile, produces and trafficks in synthetic opioids, cannabinoids, and cathinones, and amphetamine-like drug, the Treasury charged.

“Yan has tried to evade prosecution by modifying the chemical structure of his synthetic analogues based on his monitoring of legislation and law enforcement activities in the United States and China,” the Treasury said.

All three men have already been indicted in separate trafficking cases in the United States.

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The Treasury’s designation of the three as “significant foreign narcotics traffickers” under the US Kingpin Act allows the Treasury to use more sanctions and controls to attack their networks.

The Treasury said it had also issued an advisory to banks and other financial institutions describing how synthetic opioid producers and traffickers operate in financial networks, with the aim of closing off their ability to produce and sell their drugs.

“We are making the financial sector aware of tactics and typologies behind illicit schemes to launder the proceeds of these fatal drug sales, including transactions using digital currency and foreign bank accounts,” said Kenneth Blanco, the head of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The Treasury said both the Zheng and Yan groups used digital currencies like bitcoin for production operations and sales. (VOA)

Next Story

Google, YouTube Pull Over More Than 300 Trump Ads as US Prez Poll Nears

The main formats Google offers political advertisers are Search ads, YouTube ads and display ads. Under the new rules, political advertisers may target their ads only down to the postal code level

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

More than 300 Donald Trump ads have been pulled by Google and its video-sharing platform YouTube for violating the companies’ policies. The campaign videos, notably, ran over the summer.

This comes at a time when handling political advertisements on social media has become a growing concern as the 2020 US presidential election approaches and tech giants are under fire over political ads.

Twitter has even decided to ban all kinds of political ads on its platform.

Over 300 video ads for President Trump were taken down, mostly over the summer, for violating the company policy. Compared to the TV, online ads can spread lies at an alarming rate — bolstered by machine-learning algorithms that can identify target audiences at enormous speed and scale, CBS News reported on Monday.

According to CBS News, even though the ads were taken down, the archive does not detail what policy was violated.

It was not clear if it was a copyright violation, a lie or extreme inaccuracy.

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FILE – Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. We found very little transparency in the transparency report, the report added.

It is pertinent to note that political ads on social media do not adhere to different rules than political ads on TV.

The political ads on social media fall under specific scrutiny because of their unique ability to disseminate bad information and their inability to properly tackle them.

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Meanwhile, earlier in November, Google announced new limits on political advertisers globally from micro-targeting users via election ads based on their political affiliation.

The main formats Google offers political advertisers are Search ads, YouTube ads and display ads. Under the new rules, political advertisers may target their ads only down to the postal code level. (IANS)