Chinese National Pleads Guilty To Importing Opioids

By Kelly Burch 08/10/18

The businessman would receive large shipments of opioids from China and mail them out domestically.

businessman in handcuffs

A Chinese businessman living in Massachusetts has pled guilty to charges of importing opioids. 

Bin Wang, 42, was arrested in July and charged with importing shipments of carfentanil, fentanyl and other opioids. Wang would receive large shipments of opioids from China and mail them domestically, including to buyers in Ohio, according to a press release by the Ohio U.S. Attorney’s office.

On Tuesday, Wang pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to importing and distributing opioids. He will be sentenced on November 13.

Opioids, particularly powerful synthetics, are reportedly made in China and shipped into the U.S. using couriers like FedEx and even the U.S. Postal Service.

“Increasingly, the opioids that are killing our friends and neighbors are being sent here from China,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Sierleja. “Shutting down this pipeline will help in our efforts to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic. We will focus on prevention, education, and aggressive law enforcement, both here and around the world.”

This requires a new approach to intercepting drugs.

“The importation of opioids and other synthetic drugs from China has played a significant role in America’s current drug use epidemic. Over 60,000 people a year die from drug overdoses in this country, and halting all methods of drug trafficking—including by way of the Internet—is a top priority of the DEA,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon. “This investigation makes clear that geographic and technological hurdles will not stop DEA and our partners from bringing to justice those responsible for the illegal distribution of drugs in the U.S.”

Despite that tough stance, it is reportedly very difficult to catch opioids coming into the country from China. In part, that is because the shipments are small, and the volume of mail coming into the country makes it difficult to pinpoint suspicious packages. In addition, prosecuting Chinese manufacturers can be difficult.

Officials first started investigating the drugs that led to Wang in 2016, after a series of fatal overdoses in Ohio. They determined that the drugs were bought online through a Chinese website, and that a Chinese man known as “Gordon Jin” was shipping the drugs to Wang in Massachusetts, who then distributed them domestically.

Undercover agents purchase opioids from Jin, and were able to track the shipments to Wang, who was operating companies from a warehouse in Woburn, Massachusetts.

“This investigation is a great example of a collaborative effort of federal agencies and a local drug task force working together to identify and track down people and organizations that are responsible for the ever-increasing shipments of very powerful synthetic opiates into Ohio,” said Don Hall, director of the MEDWAY Drug Enforcement Agency.

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.