A federal indictment was handed down Monday to a Chinese national living in Massachusetts, who was arrested after he allegedly served as a connection point to bring fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the country and places including Wayne County.
Bin Wang, 42, is accused of operating Cambridge Chemicals, Wonda Science and other companies from a warehouse in Woburn, Mass., which served as a receiving point in the United States for synthetic drugs such as carfentanil, fentanyl and many others, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office in Cleveland.
“Yeah, this is the type of (drugs) we’ve been seeing at the local level,” said Donald Hall, director of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, which was one of several agencies that investigated the case.
Law enforcement agencies started investigating the origin of these deadly opioids and derivatives developed following a series of fatal overdoses in Northeast Ohio, according to the criminal complaint, released by Michael Tobin, a Department of Justice attorney based in Cleveland.
The DEA then launched an investigation aimed at several Chinese-based websites suspected of selling these opioids. Undercover agents identified a man known as “Gordon Jin,” according to the criminal complaint, who would send these drugs to Wang in Massachusetts through private carriers, such as FedEx. Payment was then wired to China using Western Union or MoneyGram.
The criminal complaint also indicates the “Gordon Jin” requested if payment could be made through Bitcoin, an online-only currency.
One of the websites was used to purchase acetylfentanyl that caused the overdose deaths of two Summit County residents in 2015, according to the affidavit filed by the DEA.
The complaint specifically lists one package reportedly received from Wang’s Massachusetts company Cambridge Chemicals on Dec. 20 to an undercover box in Summit County. The box was picked up by a Medway agent. And the contents found inside a foil envelope package in the box tested positive as a fentanyl analogue.
“Increasingly, the opioids that are killing our friends and neighbors are being sent here from China,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Sierleja in the news release. “Shutting down this pipeline will help in our efforts to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic. We will focus on prevention, education and aggressive law enforcement, both here and around the world.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon also said through the release, “The importation of opioids and other synthetic drugs from China has played a significant role in America’s current drug use epidemic.”
The investigation is ongoing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Cronin following an investigation by the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations and Medway.
Hall added that a recent sample obtained in Wayne County following a heroin transaction was recently tested by BCI and found similar to these drugs.
He said this investigation shows “how far the fingers reach in these DTOs,” an acronym used in the criminal complaint for “drug traffickings organizations,” like this one apparently uncovered in China.