The CBS weekly show 60 Minutes recently discovered a drug route leading into Ohio. The CBS team found that fentanyl plants in Shanghai have been trafficking their product through Akron.
Guanghua Zheng, a free citizen of Shanghai, is a wanted man in America. Zheng illegally imported fentanyl and other related narcotics into the U.S, which led to two known deaths.
Tom Rauh and Carrie Dobbins were two Ohioans who overdosed and died on substances from Zheng’s supply. 60 Minutes producer Bob Anderson located Zheng outside a grocery store in Shanghai to question him about his illegal operation.
“Are you still selling fentanyl in the U.S?” Anderson asked Zheng, who responded, “No, no.”
“Will the Chinese Government ever arrest you?” Anderson then asked.
“The Chinese government has nothing to do with this,” Zheng replied.
Anderson continued to question Zheng, but the woman standing with him outside the grocer was emphatic that he not answer any more questions. “Don’t speak, don’t speak,” she repeated to Zheng. She then turned her attention to the CBS crew. “Don’t come back,” the woman said.
Matt Cronin, an Ohio assistant U.S. attorney, notified U.S. authorities of Zheng’s trafficking scheme, known as the Gordon Jin drug trafficking organization, which traffics primarily over the internet.
“They wrote a blog and posted it on a website about how they create a certain type of synthetic narcotic. And they stated in that blog that it’s tied to overdoses. In other words, that it’s so potent it can kill you,” Cronin told CBS.
CBS released a clip from the Sunday episode discussing fentanyl and carfentanil. U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman met with CBS to discuss the narcotics, some seized by the DEA and the rest discovered by U.S. postal service inspectors. Herdman, wearing rubber gloves, displays zip-lock sized baggies filled with the narcotic.
“This is essentially enough fentanyl and carfentanil to kill every man woman and child in Cleveland,” says Herdman.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 25, 2019
Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl. The primary use is for veterinarians to tranquilize elephants, but it was seized en route to drug dealers for recreational use.
“It’s from China. It’s manufactured in China. These are all related to cases that involve the mail or the use of the postal system,” Herdman explains.
China has been producing fentanyl and prescription drugs for a sustained period of time. The Chinese government regulates 25 different forms of the drug, but not enough to control the outpour into other countries.
China announced earlier this month that all variants of fentanyl will be treated as controlled substances. This announcement was made following Washington’s pressure on Beijing to stop fueling the opioid epidemic in the United States, but some states are still being hit.
Last Thursday, Cleveland authorities indicted 20 people for obtaining and trafficking heroin and fentanyl in Cleveland. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio released a full report on the names and locations of those arrested on Thursday. Some of those indicted had also been found to be armed while trafficking.
Rauh, one of Zheng’s victims, had been in and out of rehab for years, fighting heroin addiction. In 2015, he was found dead inside his apartment after injecting the powerfully manufactured fentanyl.
“From what I was told, he wasn’t even able to complete his injection, and he lost consciousness and died on the spot,” Tom’s father James Rauh said.
“This is an act of an unleashing of a weapon of mass destruction as far as I’m concerned,” James Rauh said. “I think this is an act of aggression that’s decimating a generation of our population.”
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Mitch Shirley is a reporter for The Ohio Star and Battleground State News. Emails tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.