(NewsNation) — The Biden administration took aim Tuesday at the fentanyl trafficking threat, announcing a series of indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives blamed for importing the chemicals used to make the deadly drug.
“We know who is responsible for poisoning the American people with fentanyl. We know who is responsible for shattering families and communities across the United States with drug poisonings and overdoses. We know that behind the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans, is a cartel-driven fentanyl trafficking network that spans countries and continents.” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press conference.
Officials described the actions, which include charges against eight Chinese companies accused of advertising, manufacturing and distributing precursor chemicals for synthetic opioids like fentanyl, as the latest effort in their fight against the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history.
“I think it’s too little too late. Now, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 years old. That is a problem,” former intelligence analyst Kara Frederick said.
In a coordinated action, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against 28 people and companies — mostly in China but also in Canada — that will cut them off from the U.S. financial system and prohibit anyone in the U.S. from doing business with them. None of those charged has been arrested, but Garland said that “it was our intention to bring every one of these defendants to justice.”
“This is part of a multifaceted effort to control the drug crisis in America from fentanyl down the line,” said Democratic strategist Brad Howard. “This is a multifaceted problem. It’s a very complicated problem which needs a multifaceted solution.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.