Communist China is taking advantage of the Biden administration’s open border policies to poison hundreds of thousands of Americans with fatal fentanyl.
Witnesses and members of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions wove a terror-inducing tale in a Thursday hearing about the United States’ No. 1 rival, communist China, leveraging the cartels that control Mexico to advance their money laundering efforts and harm Americans in the process.
“This is not drug trafficking,” witness Jason Grellner, vice president of healthcare at Evolv Technology, testified. “This is an attack on the United States. And the minute that we understand that and we go at it as an attack on the United States.”
In 2021 alone, 70,601 Americans died due to synthetic opioid overdoses, while drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Most of those deaths can be attributed to fentanyl, one of the most potent, lucrative, and lethal drugs on the black market.
Just last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned Americans that illicit drug producers have begun mixing fentanyl with xylazine, a “powerful sedative” that resists lifesaving opioid overdose treatments like naloxone.
One gram of fentanyl, about the size of a pack of table sugar, can kill approximately 500 people. Because of its powerful punch and small size, cartels often see smuggling fentanyl and fentanyl-laced products as a means to make more money with less risk.
In 2022, Customs and Border Protection seized 14,700 pounds of fentanyl. That’s triple the amount they seized in 2020. Since President Joe Biden was elected, CBP reports record-breaking fentanyl seizures nearly every month.
The criminal organizations that control the border may be responsible for smuggling the fatal drug but their operations are sustained by investors linked to the Chinese Communist Party, who fund and manufacture the components required to assemble fentanyl pills.
“The Chinese serve as key enablers of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations, they profit at the front end of the business cycle, purveying fentanyl and precursor chemicals, and at the back end by laundering the millions of dollars generated by the Mexican cartels in the U.S.,” witness Celina B. Realuyo, an adjunct professor at The George Washington University, testified.
For years, Chinese investors sustained thousands of illegal weed-growing and selling operations in Mexico and the U.S. In recent years, to get their hands on more American dollars, the CCP has shifted their focus to arguably the most potent and lucrative opioid on the market. They do this by producing the precursor chemicals required to make fentanyl and expanding those chemical productions to other countries like India.
The CCP’s motives, members and witnesses at the hearing declared, are less than pure.
“There’s only one reason that they’re selling this poison: it is to destabilize the United States and to kill Americans,” Grellner said.
“Chinese actors aggressively use the internet and social media to advertise and market their illicit products, often in English. They blatantly target Western consumers,” Jonathan Cassara, a retired special agent for the U.S. Treasury, added.
Yet, the Biden administration and Congress, witnesses and members admitted, have not even begun to adequately address the issue.
“Given the gravity and scale of the situation, it is unclear why the Justice Department’s top priority isn’t to stop this reverse opium war that China is perpetrating against us. While there are a lot of pieces to this enormous challenge, including our unsecured border, the flow of money is the lifeblood of fentanyl trafficking,” Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer, the Republican representing Missouri’s 3rd congressional district, said in his opening statement.
Cutting off Profits Starts at the Southern Border
Democrats hesitated to discuss securing the border as a solution because, as ranking member Joyce Beatty said, this hearing is “about the money and not necessarily other things we’re hearing.”
Yet, as witnesses and members both admitted, beefing up operations at the border will keep the overwhelming rush of illegal border crossers at bay and stop “making it easier for drug traffickers to slip through the cracks and bring dangerous fentanyl in our country,” as Republican Rep. Roger Williams of Texas said. Designating cartels known for smuggling fentanyl as foreign terrorists, something several attorneys general have asked the Biden administration to do, could also be a useful tool in combatting the fentanyl crisis.
“If I could suggest one thing that our government should do: control the border,” Cassara said.
Criminals, like the cartels that control the border, are, Cassara said, “motivated by profits, by proceeds of crime, not the criminal activity themselves.”
“With the advent of Chinese money launderers, however, they’re able to orchestrate the movement of money into the hands of Chinese oligarchs who can then use those U.S. greenbacks to purchase land in the United States, real estate,” Grellner explained. “They can place individuals into our higher learning centers and pay cash for that in U.S. greenbacks that they cannot get in China. They can do that at a cost savings to the Mexican drug cartels who were one time paying anywhere from 15 to 20 percent on the dollar to Colombian money launderers can now play 1 to 2 percent to the Chinese.”
Thanks to Biden’s dismantling border security measures, cartels are emboldened to not only continue their fentanyl smuggling but expand their black market influence further. The CCP is merely taking advantage of that.
“Our failure to secure our own sovereignty is creating a financial incentive for the Chinese Communist Party to kill Americans,” Republican Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee acknowledged.
So is Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who outright denied last week that Mexico produces fentanyl. Lopez Obrador showed he’s clearly not interested in international enforcement cooperation after he blamed the U.S. drug overdose crisis on American parenting.
Sanctions Show China Who Is Boss
Just like cartels are motivated by profit, so are the CCP investors who lead fentanyl exports to the U.S.
“It’s all about money, whether it’s in legitimate commerce or illicit activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, or human trafficking. It’s all about the money,” Donald Im, a retired assistant special agent in charge of the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cyber section of the DEA Special Operations Division, said.
Agencies across the U.S. governments have identified the CCP players responsible for fueling the fentanyl crisis.
“We are able to identify the evidence and information that they are committing illicit activities and crimes,” Im said.
Yet, the Biden administration, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted in a Senate hearing this week, hasn’t imposed any sanctions on the CCP for its involvement in the growing number of U.S. deaths attributed to fentanyl.
“I think using sanctions also against China could be a very innovative way to hold both Mexicans and Chinese accountable,” Realuyo explained, noting the Trump administration’s success in sanctioning China.