National Security

U.S. Sanctions Leading Chinese Drug Kingpin

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo / Getty Images

The United States on Tuesday issued sanctions on a Chinese national alleged to be "one of the most significant drug traffickers in the world," according to the State Department.

The Treasury and State Departments sanctioned Zhang Taotao and his Hong Kong-based Allyrise Technology Group Co., Limited under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, known as the Kingpin Act, for allegedly trafficking fentanyl and other opioids in the United States.

"Zhang has shipped synthetic opioids to the United States via multiple individuals and freight-forwarding services and used false labelling to disguise parcel contents and avoid seizure by authorities," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "Once a package is received in the United States, U.S.-based distributors press fentanyl into counterfeit pharmaceutical pills for further distribution and domestic consumption."

The new sanctions are part of a larger effort by the United States to crack down on the sale and distribution of illicit pharmaceuticals that are widely abused across the globe. China is a leader in the distribution of illicit chemicals used to create these drugs, which are later sold on the black market. China’s permissive attitude toward these chemicals has been a source of concern for the American government.

The sanctions, Pompeo said, are "part of a continued whole-of-government effort to combat the illegal production and trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids from the PRC, which have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans."