Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Lawmaker Calls for Crackdown on International Mail Shipments of Opioids

Lawmaker Calls for Crackdown on International Mail Shipments of Opioids Lawmaker Calls for Crackdown on International Mail Shipments of Opioids
Nellie Chapman | 27 January, 2018, 00:48

Rob Portman said the alarming report shows just how easy it is to obtain fentanyl from China, and said lawmakers are not doing enough to prevent trafficking.

"It's so powerful that just a few flakes of it can kill you, and those who use it not only put themselves in danger, but they also put law enforcement and children at risk", subcommittee chairman Sen.

United States residents purchased almost $800 million worth of fentanyl pills from China over the internet in two years, according to a Senate investigations report released Wednesday.

The sellers preferred to ship purchases through the global arm of the U.S. Postal Service.

The opioid sellers also preferred to be paid in Bitcoin because of its difficulty to trace, but also accepted payment through Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal, credit cards and prepaid gift cards, the report said. All came from China and used the U.S. Postal Service's Express Mail Service. Some were buying for personal consumption, others were looking to on-sell the drug for personal gain.

Senate investigators explained that their report entailed a year-long probe into just six websites affiliated with Chinese labs.

Yu Haibin, Director of Precursor Chemical Control at China's drug control agency, suggested last month the USA work to curb opioid demand at home rather than go after Chinese sellers. The investigators used payment information to track more than 500 US -linked transactions from these sites, at least five of which they suspect are based in China. The investigators focused on six websites to better understand the process of purchasing fentanyl online. One of the people they tracked was a 49-year-old OH resident who sent about $2,500 over the course of a 10-month period.

Postal and Customs authorities must do a better job at screening global mail shipments for opioids arriving in the United States via "Express Mail", Sen.

The US Postal Service has failed to install a system to identify advanced electronic data (AED) with regards to shipments destined for American arrival points, which would help US Customs and Border Protection agents spot suspicious packages.

The investigation estimated that some 318 million parcels from overseas were not monitored as they were shipped via the US Postal Service previous year. "The AED that the Postal Service does receive from foreign postal operators is of low quality, sometimes indecipherable, and potentially useless". "The federal government can, and must, act to shore up our defences against this deadly drug and help save lives".

With the influx of e-commerce packages constantly crossing the United States border, investigators have noted how of the 300 million packages arriving within the country past year, only a third had electronic information properly sent to the postal service database.