On September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by Muslims and crashed into three buildings and an open field, leading to the deaths of almost 3,000 people, mostly American citizens.
What If tomorrow terrorists hijacked 40 planes, leading to the deaths of 30,000 Americans? What if these terrorists were Chinese nationals? Would we go to war as quickly as we did in Afghanistan?
I would think so.
Then tell me why we aren’t taking this story more seriously (emphasis mine).
When narcotics agents raided Apartment 6D in August, they found 1,100 glassine envelopes of the deadly synthetic heroin, plus everything else needed for a distribution mill: bags of bulk fentanyl, stamps, ledgers, gloves, masks, rubber bands, a heat sealing device and a gun stuffed between couch cushions.
The iconic building was the final stop on just one artery of an illicit pipeline stretching all the way back to China.
Flowing in one direction, this fentanyl pipeline runs through Mexican cartel strongholds and heads north on well-established drug trafficking routes. It funnels 80 percent of the drug through the San Diego border before dispersing throughout the U.S.
The pipeline flows in another direction, as well, direct from Chinese laboratories to U.S. customers through the mail, bringing small, hard-to-detect packages of extremely pure fentanyl to suburban doorsteps.
Both channels are feeding a deadly epidemic, moving a drug so potent that the equivalent of a few grains of table salt can be fatal.
Fentanyl was first developed in 1960 as a powerful painkiller and surgery anesthetic without the side effect of nausea. It is 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
It is prescribed in controlled settings for the most serious conditions, such as to treat cancer pain, and usually dispensed in patches or lollipops.
Then drug traffickers realized its potential.
The first major wave of illicit fentanyl-laced heroin hit the U.S. around 2005 and 2006. Now, it has completely invaded the illegal drug market.
Mexican drug cartels often take bulk pure fentanyl from China and then cut it with any number of substances, from heroin to cocaine to methamphetamine to cheap fillers such as sugar and acetominophen.
The end result is packaged wholesale into powdered bricks that are extremely diluted, 6 to 7 percent typically, and smuggled across the border.
The street dealers then call it whatever they want, leaving most customers completely unaware that the drug they just bought is actually fentanyl.
“The guy who is addicted to heroin has no idea what he’s getting, he just knows he’s getting that same feeling,” said Dean Kirby, a senior forensic chemist at the DEA lab in San Diego.
Consider what it takes to produce heroin — large plots of secure land to grow opium poppies, a labor force for farming and refining, and several months of time. Then you’ve got weather, pests and water supply issues to deal with.
Move the entire process to a lab and it is so much more predictable — and profitable.
With fentanyl, you need about 20 times less product to achieve the same high as heroin.
One kilogram of pure fentanyl from China, costing about $3,300 to $5,000, can be turned into a diluted powder sold on San Diego streets at a $300,000 value, according to the DEA. As it travels farther away from the border, the value skyrockets.
If it is in pill form, 1 kilogram of pure fentanyl can be made into 1 million pills containing 1 milligram of fentanyl each. Sell each pill for $10 to $20 a piece on the street and that is a $10 million to $20 million product.
Cheaper to produce and more potent, easier to avoid detection by authorities, and yet more difficult to detect as it can be shipped via US Mail. Oh, but let’s legalize all drugs.
It would be difficult to prove the Chinese government is behind the shipments to the US, or supporting the dark web access to fentanyl and respective precursor drugs, but it’s no mental stretch to know they’re not doing anything to stop the flow. But they sure work hard with their old pal Google to crack down on critics.
China and the US may be trading partners but we’re not friends, and we shouldn’t act like we are.
In many ways, we’re at war. And when at war, it’s wise and necessary to expand your methods
beyond military. China has made it clear it wants to rule at least their half of the world, so it stands to reason that it could be getting creative with its ways to take us down.
Fentanyl is a current and powerful tool.
We have yet another reason to clamp down on China, and we should with every means at our disposal.