In November 2021, President Joe Biden remembered all those who had died from drug overdoses in 2020—more than 100,000 Americans–a new milestone in the nation’s escalating crisis. However, in remembering the dead, the president failed to call out China.
In the United States, the use of drugs, illicit or otherwise, is rampant. Nevertheless, the addiction epidemic plaguing the nation doesn’t take anything away from the fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to be playing a key role in funneling narcotics into the United States.
Every 5 1/2 minutes, somewhere in the United States, a person dies from a drug overdose. Many of these deaths involve opioids. Every corner of the country—from Los Angeles to Louisiana, Wisconsin to Washington, Syracuse to Sarasota—has been touched by the opioid crisis. Some communities—even entire cities—have been decimated by it. As the Republican Greg Walden so rightly said, opioids are “an equal opportunity destroyer.”
In 2019, 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses; in less than a year, that number had risen to 100,000. More than 64,000 of these deaths resulted from the use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, the deadliest opioid in existence. This is a staggering number, especially when you recognize the fact that 2019 saw 36,000 Americans die from the use of synthetic opioids; in 2018, that number was somewhere in the region of 31,000. Compared with 2018, 2020 saw the number of deaths from fentanyl more than double.
Fentanyl, it’s important to note, is an extremely powerful drug; it’s up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and some 50 times stronger than heroin. Among 18- to 45-year-olds, fentanyl overdoses are now the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. This is a national emergency that China has helped create.
According to the Brookings Institution, over the past decade, China has played a key role in flooding the United States with this highly addictive drug. Somewhat laughably, 2019 saw the CCP promise to curtail the manufacturing and supply of fentanyl-class drugs. Not surprisingly, this particular promise, like almost every single promise that comes from those in Beijing, carried absolutely zero weight.
As the U.S.–China Economic Security Review Commission (USCC) recently noted, China is now “the primary country of origin for illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
To think that Beijing isn’t somehow involved—if not directly involved—in the flow of lethal drugs into the United States requires a complete and utter suspension of disbelief. Remember, this is a regime that watches every single one of its citizens—the good, the bad, and those who lie in the gray area, somewhere in between—closely.
As someone who lived in China up until very recently, I speak from experience when I say the following: The CCP keeps files on all of its citizens, including those who are involved in the drug trade.
In the words of the author and researcher Bonnie Girard, “China has numerous potential avenues for cracking down on illegal drug production and export. What it lacks is the political will to do so.”
China has gotten a little more creative in its efforts to flood America with drugs. Instead of sending supplies directly to the United States, Chinese drug traffickers now send them to Mexico. In recent times, Chinese drug dealers have forged strong alliances with some of the largest drug cartels in Mexico.
A recent report issued by the USCC documents the ways in which Chinese traffickers have “shifted from primarily manufacturing finished fentanyl to primarily exporting precursors to Mexican cartels, who manufacture illicit fentanyl and deliver the final product.” In addition, “Chinese brokers are laundering Mexican drug money through China’s financial system.” Moreover, the CCP absolutely refuses to cooperate with U.S. authorities “on criminal and money laundering investigations, conducting joint operations, and U.S. requests for inspections and law enforcement assistance.”
When one thinks of drugs coming from Mexico, that oh-so-porous border instantly springs to mind. If only there were a gigantic wall to keep bad actors out, some might shout. However, although drug cartels continue to exploit a catalog of weaknesses at the border to move the likes of fentanyl and meth into the United States, they are far more likely to use ports.
In recent times, coincidentally (or not), Chinese private sector companies with close ties to the CCP have invested in a number of Mexican ports. In 2015, Chinese investors agreed to build a new port in Nayarit, a state inextricably linked with the drug trade. In 2020, U.S. agents arrested Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, Mexico’s former defense minister, accusing him of working with one of the country’s deadliest criminal enterprises, the Nayarit H-2 cartel. According to U.S. agents, Zepeda played a key role in helping the cartel traffic drugs into the United States.
In October 2021, the United States sanctioned four members of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, accusing them of using the port of Manzanillo to ship drugs into the United States. Coincidentally or not, China Harbour Engineering Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company, has invested a lot of money in this particular port.
In Veracruz, another state intimately linked with the drug trade, companies with close ties to Beijing have financed a number of projects, including Veracruz Port. For more than 10 years, this particular port has played a significant role in Mexico’s drug trade. Again, to think that those in Beijing aren’t fully aware of what’s occurring requires a complete and utter suspension of disbelief.
What can be done? Surely, the Biden administration can introduce stricter measures. Surely, for instance, any goods coming from Mexican ports should be forensically analyzed. The drug overdose problem isn’t going away. In fact, as the statistics show, it’s a problem that is getting exponentially worse each year. Biden must act now. The question, though, is will he?
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.