The 30 kilograms of fentanyl that were seized in the latest bust were intended for an area in southeastern Virginia known as the Peninsula, which includes the cities of Hampton and Newport News.
One of the 39 people charged is accused of ordering fentanyl from a vendor in Shanghai. The person then “had it mailed through the US Postal Service to a neighbourhood in Newport News,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said at a news conference in Norfolk.
Efforts have been growing to pressure China to help the US fight the opioid scourge and for the US to better detect the drug in the mail, Terwilliger said.
“We have to get the Chinese to stop doing this,” Terwilliger said. “We also have to get really good at detecting it in the [mail] … The last thing we want is for the US Postal Service to become the nation’s largest drug dealer.”
The measure also set deadlines for the screening to be put into place by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and the Postal Service.
The bust in Virginia involved more than 120 law enforcement officers from 30 federal, state and local agencies in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.