China sentences three in fentanyl trafficking case after U.S. tip

China sentences three in fentanyl trafficking case after US tip

The nine were captured and tried as a result of a joint U.S.

The Chinese court said it was the first time United States and Chinese officers had worked together on such a case.

Two others received life terms for trafficking fentanyl and alprazolam - the hugely popular prescription anxiety drug branded as Xanax.

"As the success of this joint investigation demonstrates, Chinese and American investigators have the capacity to collaborate across global borders", Austin Moore, an ICE attache in the Beijing embassy, told reporters. "Today's event is another important step".

Police stand guard outside the Xingtai Intermediate People's court in Xingtai county, north China's Hebei province Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.

Nine people have been jailed in China for smuggling fentanyl into the USA, after a landmark joint investigation by American and Chinese officers.

A court in China has sentenced nine fentanyl traffickers on November 7 in a case that is the culmination of rare cooperation between Chinese and USA law enforcement to identify the global networks that produce and distributes lethal synthetic opioids.

Mr Trump has claimed fentanyl kills "100,000 Americans a year".

In September 2017, the USA authority shared the information with the Ministry of Public Security's Narcotics Control Bureau, and both sides agreed to coordinate in a joint narcotics investigation, Moore said.

"This further demonstrates the Chinese government's consistent attitude of zero tolerance towards drug crimes", he said. "This case has nothing to do with the trade war", he said later in response to a question from Bloomberg.

Officials in Washington have blamed Beijing for failing to curb the supply of synthetic drugs that US officials say come mainly from China as overdose deaths continue to rise.

Deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses in the U.S. surged to 31,600 in 2018 from 19,400 in 2016.

"China's control of fentanyl has become more strict, but the number of deaths in the USA from fentanyl have risen".

However, Yu said accusations that China was the main source of the opioid in the USA were untrue.

China has faced US criticism for not doing enough to prevent the flow of fentanyl into the United States, and the issue has become another irritant in bilateral ties, already strained by a bruising trade war the two are now working to end.

The widely-publicized sentencing on Thursday will likely help Trump sell his trade deal at home where he's facing a skeptical business community and farmers hurt by his tariffs.

The case originated in 2017 from the Department of Homeland Security's New Orleans office, which acted on a tip from an informant who provided contact information for a Chinese seller using the pseudonym "Diana", Austin Moore, a regional attache with the department, told reporters.

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