US and China resume talks to tackle fentanyl crisis

Photo: Europa Press.

On Sunday, February 18, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, and the Chinese Minister of Public Security, Wang Xiaohong, met in Vienna to continue talks on actions against the fentanyl route linking the United States, Mexico and China.

In a statement published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the purpose of the meeting was said to “advance cooperation with China against the scourge of fentanyl and its precursor chemicals”.

The two senior officials from Washington and Beijing followed up on the commitments made by U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their meeting in November last year in San Francisco, California, where the pair discussed the issue.

They also reviewed the progress of the U.S.-China Counternarcotics Working Group, which met for the first time on January 30 in Beijing.

During the meeting, Mayorkas and Wang discussed measures needed to combat the spread of precursor chemicals and the criminal organizations that profit from the production, distribution and sale of synthetic drugs, especially fentanyl.

According to German outlet DW, over 110,000 people died last year in the United States from drug overdoses, 70% of them related to fentanyl, making this synthetic opioid a priority for theU.S. government.

This week Jason Antonio Yang L贸pez, a 42-year-old man arrested on February 18 and allegedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, was extradited from Mexico to Guatemala. He faces charges in Florida for conspiracy to import 400 grams or more of a substance containing fentanyl, according to Infobae.

Yang had already been sanctioned by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on January 30, 2023, due to his involvement in the trafficking of precursor chemicals to manufacture fentanyl and other synthetic drugs, along with two other people of Mexican origin.