Tag Archives: Fentanyl

Ohio Cops Arrested After Allegedly Distributing Nearly 8 Kilograms Of Fentanyl

Two Columbus, Ohio, police officers were arrested and charged with distributing 7.5 kilograms of fentanyl, ABC 6 reports. Federal prosecutors allege officers Marco R. Merino and John J. Kotchkoski, who were part of the police department’s drug cartel unit, enlisted the help of a private informant to help move drugs with them. In return, the officers promised to provide them with protection from law enforcement.

The affidavit says Merino told the informant that he had the power to intervene should police decide to investigate him. According to court documents, Merino allegedly tried to obtain citizenship in Mexico in order to launder the money earned in their trafficking scheme. He’s said to have also been looking into property to open as Airbnb homes. His last visit to the country was in July. 

In addition to the other charges, Merino is also accused of taking in $44,000 overall in bribes as payment for protecting the transportation of cocaine on a number of occasions between March and September. U.S. News however, reports it was a front orchestrated by federal authorities — there was no cocaine on any of the shipments. The operation functioned with Kotchkoski, who kept himself on standby to make any important phone calls on behalf of his partner Merino while he protected the shipment.  

Kotchkoski made his first court appearance virtually on Wednesday afternoon and will remain in holding, pending his detention hearing on Friday. Merino will appear for his detention hearing on Thursday. His first court appearance took place on Tuesday. If convicted, the two officers face possible life sentences. 

“These allegations are beyond disturbing,” Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said in a statement on Wednesday. “If proven, such actions would violate the oath our officers take, the standards we must hold ourselves to, and the trust of the public.”

Bryant continued, adding that both police officers have been suspended pending the outcome of their cases.

“I will say it again: when my officers do what’s right, I will always have their back,” Bryant said. “When they don’t, they will be held accountable.”

“I am flat out angry. The allegations are disturbing and represent a complete breach of trust,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther, per ABC 6. “It undermines our efforts to rebuild community-police relations at a time when we need to come together to make our neighborhoods safer. The selfish actions of these officers jeopardized the safety of their fellow officers and the community. We will hold these officers accountable, check the abuse of power and remain steadfast in our work to reform policing in Columbus.”

STORY REPOSTED FROM BLAVITY

Deadly Chinese Fentanyl Is Creating a New Era of Drug Kingpins

china_fentanyl

Illustration: Kevin Hong

The opioid’s potency has transformed the global trafficking — and policing — of narcotics.

Outside the gates of a residential complex called Oak Bay, a construction frenzy tears up the central Chinese city of Wuhan, a metropolis of 11 million racing to catch up with Beijing and Shanghai. The aural assault of jackhammers and cement trucks fades at the walls of the complex. Inside, a leafy oasis of manicured grounds and winding red-brick walkways draws out residents for early morning tai chi sessions near the banks of the Yangtze River.

Among the 5,000 apartments, on a high-rise’s 20th floor, lives Yan Xiaobing, a chemicals distributor with short, spiky hair. His wife, Hu Qi, operates an English tutoring business. Their social-media feed shows the couple and their two young children under blue skies at the beach and posing at landmarks in Europe and Japan. One photo shows Yan reading to pupils in a classroom.

In half-frame glasses, blue plastic house slippers and button-down shirt, Yan could have passed as an ordinary office worker when Bloomberg News reporters found him late last year. Filling the apartment doorway with his 6-foot frame, he expressed soft-spoken bafflement at the portrait the U.S. Justice Department paints of him: not a modest businessman, but a new type of international drug dealer. “This is horrifying,” he said. “Their investigation must have gone wrong.”

Federal prosecutors in Mississippi charged Yan, 41, in September with leading an empire built on the manufacture and sale of drugs related to fentanyl, one of the world’s deadliest and most profitable narcotics. So strong that it’s been studied as a chemical weapon, the drug has saturated American streets with breathtaking speed: It kills more people than any other opioid, including prescription pills and heroin, because it’s so easy to overdose. Authorities say they have linked Yan and his 9W Technology Co. to more than 100 distributors across the U.S. and at least 20 other countries. Investigators expect scores of arrests as they dismantle his alleged network.

A month after the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a Washington news conference to shine a spotlight on Yan and another man, Zhang Jian, 39, who’s accused of a similar scheme. Their indictments, Rosenstein told reporters, marked “a major milestone in our battle to stop deadly fentanyl from reaching the United States.”

Yan is the first Chinese national the U.S. has ever added to its “consolidated priority organization target” list of individuals thought to command the world’s most prolific drug-trafficking and money-laundering networks. Investigators say his strategy was to offer fentanyl-like compounds called analogues — which differ slightly on a molecular level but produce similar effects — in order to exploit discrepancies between the laws in the U.S. and China. Rosenstein expressed optimism that his Chinese counterparts would hold Yan accountable.

But if Yan doesn’t resemble a stereotypical drug lord, neither is fentanyl your average drug. It has upended how traffickers conduct business and how such activity gets policed. Bloomberg News examined hundreds of pages of court documents and government reports and interviewed drug dealers and law officers, retracing a byzantine path that took investigators from a Mississippi parking lot all the way to Wuhan.

Continue reading this article here: Bloomberg.com