A drug bust in Brooklyn illustrates a dangerous and growing alliance: Chinese fentanyl suppliers and New York City gang members, law-enforcement authorities tell the Wall Street Journal. Thirty-four people, mostly members of the Bloods gang, were charged with distributing drugs including furanyl fentanyl, an opioid narcotic similar to heroin but much more potent. Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said the defendants received packages of the furanyl fentanyl from China transported by delivery company DHL. Police recovered more than 8 kilos of narcotics, including 4.6 kilos of furanyl fentanyl, in the 15-month investigation.
Fentanyl compounds are helping drive a huge rise in overdose deaths. Authorities say the drugs are pouring in from China, sometimes with a stop in Mexico. Traffickers prefer the drugs because they are made with chemicals, not the poppy plants needed for heroin, making them cheaper and easier to produce. New York police chief of detectives Robert Boyce said it was the first time he had seen furanyl fentanyl in the city. The drug is an analog of fentanyl, meaning it has a slightly different chemical makeup. Authorities have had a hard time banning all the new analogs appearing in the U.S.