Nine jailed in China for smuggling fentanyl to U.S. after landmark operation

Police stand guard outside the Xingtai Intermediate People’s court in Xingtai China Thursday Nov. 7 2019. A Chinese court sentenced three fentanyl traffickers Thursday in a case that was a culmination of a rare collaboration between Chinese and U.S

In joint case with U.S., China jails nine fentanyl smugglers

They arrested more than 20 criminal suspects and seized 11.9 kilograms (26.23 pounds) of fentanyl as well as 19.1 kilograms (42.11 pounds) of other drugs.

A year later, Mr Trump said Chinese President Xi Jinping had promised to stop fentanyl reaching the United States, but had not.

China's narcotics office discovered a criminal network based in Shanghai and eastern Jiangsu province in 2017 and seized 11.9 kg (26.2 pounds) of fentanyl, according to a notice from US border authorities. UU.

The court in northern Hebei province described the case as the first successful joint US-Chinese probe related to fentanyl smuggling, and US officials also hailed the verdict.

In 2017 two other defendants - including Liu Yong, who was given the suspended death sentence - set up a processing lab where they illegally processed fentanyl and sold it to these companies to smuggle to the US.

In August, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of not fulfilling a promise to crack down on fentanyl and its analogues.

Though Chinese officials have consistently downplayed the amount of fentanyl coming from the country, Beijing has committed to squeezing supply lines and working with American agencies to soothe Trump and his senior aides and improve the chances of a deal to end the spiraling trade war.

"As the success of the joint investigation demonstrates, Chinese and American investigators have the capacity to collaborate across worldwide borders", Austin Moore, the attaché from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said at Thursday's briefing.

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

According to Austin Moore - a United States immigration and customs attache in China - the operation began in August 2017, when Homeland Security officers in New Orleans interviewed a "co-operating defendant".

Earlier this year, China said all variations of fentanyl would be considered controlled substances, effectively outlawing products used to produce the drug. Those leads prompted over 25 domestic investigations and have already resulted in three major criminal arrests and indictments in NY and OR, he said. Top Chinese officials later pushed back, saying China has made good-faith efforts to fight fentanyl production and urged Trump not to link the opioid dispute with broader USA complaints over Chinese trade practices.

Since then, the two countries have pledged to work together to combat drug proliferation, although Beijing has rejected responsibility for the USA addiction crisis.

Yu Haibin, from China's National Narcotics Control Commission, said at the press conference that Beijing had maintained close communication with USA authorities.

USA drug enforcement officials have pointed to China as the source of much of the fentanyl and related supplies.

Scrambling to contain surging overdose deaths, Washington has blamed Beijing for failing to curb the supply of synthetic drugs that USA officials say come mainly from China.

But experts warned much more work was needed to stamp out the drug trade to the US.

Kurt Suzuki dons MAGA hat during Nationals' White House visit
Europe migrant crisis: French police clear Paris ring road camps