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Chinese fentanyl precursor producers ‘fueling’ US epidemic received millions in crypto: Elliptic

Legal • May 23, 2023, 1:55PM EDT

Quick Take

  • Chinese producers of fentanyl precursors received more than $27 million in crypto payments, said blockchain analytics firm Elliptic.
  • Most fentanyl trafficked into the United States is manufactured using precursors imported from Chinese suppliers,” according to the report.

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Elliptic identified crypto wallets, allegedly belong to Chinese companies producing fentanyl precursors, which received more than $27 million in crypto payments.

Elliptic said, a new report, its researchers received offers from dozens of “China-based companies to supply fentanyl precursors” with 90% of those companies saying they accepted cryptocurrency payments.. The companies also said they shipped to Mexico, where most of the fentanyl that flows into the United States comes from, the report also said.

Most fentanyl trafficked into the United States is manufactured using precursors imported from Chinese suppliers,” the blockchain analytics firm added.

Cryptocurrency being used for purchasing illicit substances and drugs is, of course, nothing new, with the dark-web Silk Road marketplace being perhaps the most well-known example.

Elliptic’s report, published on its website, asserted that the wallets belonging to the Chinese companies producing chemicals required for creating the dangerous narcotic fentanyl “have received thousands of payments,” with the total number increasing “by 450% year-on-year.”

The report also stated that, by Elliptic’s estimations, $27 million worth of precursor would be enough to “produce fentanyl pills with a street value of approximately $54 billion.”

“Seventeen of the businesses even offered to provide fentanyl itself,” the report continued. “Others offered to provide other synthetic opioids even more potent than fentanyl, but that are currently legal to produce and sell in China.”

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