Loopholes Allow Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Drugs to be Shipped to the U.S.

Posted On: April 9th, 2018 by Bradley J. Groene
Boxes going down conveyor belt

For the past few years, the opioid epidemic has taken over the United States, leaving tens of thousands of casualties in its wake. Many deaths have been the result of people abusing their prescription medications or purchasing drugs from dealers. But, a surprising number of purchasers have turned to the Internet to buy synthetic drugs, such as Fentanyl, from overseas sellers.

If you’re facing drug charges, call a Cincinnati drug crime attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We can ensure your rights are protected and help you build a strong defense. Call us at (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free legal consultation.

Synthetic Drugs Shipped Via USPS

Overseas suppliers in China and other countries have discovered that they can sell Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs to the United States by shipping the packages through the U.S. Postal Service. The post office doesn’t screen packages nor utilize advanced electronic data (EAD) to determine the safety of the contents before delivering them. EAD and prescreening are both tools that private package carriers, such as FedEx and UPS use before making deliveries.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put together research on six distributors – five from China and one from an unidentified location – that have shipped over 500 packages to the States. Specifically, their report uncovered some alarming details:

  • Purchases were made in 43 states.
  • Many distributors paid with Bitcoin, but others accepted credit cards and PayPal.
  • Over $230,000 were spent on these purchases.
  • Distributors of deadly synthetic drugs can be easily found through a quick Google search.

The STOP Act

Fentanyl is a synthetic drug, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin. It takes just a small amount to cause a fatal overdose. This drug has been the cause of over half of all overdoses in Ohio alone. The deaths in his home state have prompted Senator Rob Portman to make closing the USPS loophole a priority. In his Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act or STOP Act, the USPS would use EAD to ensure the packages do not contain illegal or dangerous products. Supporters of the Act believe incorporating even the simplest security measures will deter Fentanyl distributors from selling their product to the United States.

Why Hasn’t This Loophole Been Closed Yet?

The post office loophole has been recognized as a major problem by members of Congress, the DHS, the FDA, and the DEA. So why does it still exist?

The USPS is one organization that is hoping to put the brakes on Portman’s STOP Act. While they support the bill, they feel it would be more cost-effective to have the international shippers perform EAD, rather than leaving it to the post office. If left to the USPS to screen packages, the cost could be nearly $5 billion over the next ten years, a figure that would impossible to recoup through overseas distributors.

But, the USPS still seeks to combat the delivery of opioid through U.S. mail. A spokesman for the post office has touted their efforts to stop synthetic drug delivery, pointing out that they had a 375 percent increase in the seizure of international packages, as well as an 880 percent increase in domestic package seizures.

Call a Cincinnati Criminal Lawyer About Your Drug Charges

A drug charge is a serious matter that can result in hefty fines, jail time, or both. If you’ve been charged with drug-related activity, you need Cincinnati drug crime lawyer Bradley J. Groene on your side. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have experience in many drug-related cases, and we can immediately start working on a defense for your case. Contact us today at (513) 338-1890 to schedule your free consultation.