A Chinese businessman who had been living in the Boston area was sentenced to nearly six years in prison Monday for distributing opioids that were shipped from China to the United States and eventually made their way to Ohio.
Bin Wang, 43, a Chinese national, was sentenced to 71 months in prison after pleading guilty in August to 10 counts, including drug conspiracy, conspiracy to import a controlled substance, and drug distribution, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
Wang, a chemist, operated Cambridge Chemicals, Wonda Science, and other companies from a warehouse in Woburn, Massachusetts. He was arrested in July 2017 before boarding a plane to Toronto. Federal prosecutors say Wang worked with a man in China named Gordon Jin to bring powerfully addictive drugs into the United States.
Authorities began investigating shipments of carfentanil, fentanyl and other opioids in August 2016, after a series of fatal overdoses in Northeast Ohio, according to court documents.
That investigation led them to several Chinese websites, which they learned were selling kilogram amounts of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, which were shipped via private carriers such as FedEx. One of the websites was used to purchase acetylfentanyl that caused the overdose deaths of two Summit County residents in 2015, according to court documents.
Beginning in November 2016, undercover agents began ordering opioids and other drugs from a Chinese drug-trafficking cartel. The agents wired money to China using Western Union or MoneyGram. They learned the Chinese cartel sent the drugs to Wang in Massachusetts, who in turn mailed the drugs domestically, including to cities in Northeast Ohio, court documents reveal.
The documents detail numerous sales and shipments of drugs from China to Massachusetts to Ohio from November 2016 through July 2017.
The leaders of the Chinese drug cartel, Fujing Zheng, aka Gordon Jin, and his father Guanghua Zheng, both reside in Shanghai. They have been charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States, operating a criminal enterprise, money laundering and other crimes.
As The Ohio Star reported Sunday, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has cited a study that traced China as the source of much of the fentanyl flowing into Ohio. In Akron, for instance, Thomas Nash and his son Vincent were found dead in February 2016 after a suspected overdose of fentanyl, which was traced back to China.
“Wang was responsible for receiving shipments of deadly opioids and other drugs from China and then sending them to Ohio and throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We will continue to work with law enforcement to stop the steady stream of drugs from overseas that is killing our friends and neighbors.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy Plancon said the importation of opioids and other synthetic drugs from China has played a significant role in the current epidemic of drug-addicted Americans, more than 60,000 of whom die of drug overdoses every year.
“As opioids and other dangerous drugs continue to plague our communities in Ohio, a unified law enforcement community is the only way to stem the tide of this dangerous and deadly epidemic,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis. “In order to have a significant impact, these organizations must be attacked from the street-level dealer to the wholesale distributor.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.