Increased Fentanyl Production - a New Game by Criminal Groups

Dec 3, 2021

The harsh reality is that Transnational Organized Criminal (TOC) groups, and their proxies operating in Latin America, will continue to dramatically increase the importation of essential precursor chemicals coming from Asia to support the production of illicit fentanyl in pill form. America’s youth are the new participants in what can be compared to a Squid Games-like challenge of "Red Pill or Blue Pill?"

TOC actors have become emboldened as they dramatically increase the illicit production of fentanyl, while hiding in plain sight behind a human highway of misery, as they flood America with millions of counterfeit pills that kill with one dose. 

Illegal Drug Warehouse

The “center of gravity” for this unfolding, Shakespearean-like tragedy, is the illicit fentanyl Precursor Chemical Supply Chain (PCSC) networks. Operating under the control of global TOC actors, they re-envision a new form of "Criminal Machiavellianism" that dominates an emerging era of illicit synthetic opioid fentanyl production, trafficking, and usage.

A U.S. Whole of Government Counter-Fentanyl Strategy that includes the international community, allies, private industry, and the application of advanced drug identification technology, will be required to stem the expansion of the PCSC networks and mitigate, to some degree, TOC critical capabilities.

fentanyl stock

A New Strategy to Win this Game

Rigaku recently launched Operation HOPLON, which is a counterdrug interdiction assistance program in line with the U.S. government strategy to combat significant TOC actors. The goal of the program is to degrade the ability of TOC actors to smuggle precursor chemicals across international borders utilizing three key factors:

Rigaku_Coin-11.The use of interdiction technology with the Rigaku ResQ CQL. The handheld ResQ CQL 1064 nm Raman analyzer provides detection and identification of narcotics, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, cutting agents, and precursor chemicals in seconds. 

2. An advanced training program provided by Rigaku and its partner, Florida International University (FIU) National Forensic Science Technology Center (NSFTC). Training includes a background of the chemicals used in the illicit drug trade, current trends practiced by criminal groups, overview of Raman spectroscopy, operation of the ResQ CQL analyzer, and field practical exercises.

3. Trusted support on the new interdiction equipment that includes library updates, software upgrades, 24/7 live reachback support, 2-year warranty and no-charge technical support.

Learn more about Rigaku's new counterdrug assistance program, Operation HOPLON, click here.

ResQ CQL (rotator video)_picture_2019.01.11_rev5-1

Michael W. Brown is the global director of counter-narcotics technology at Rigaku Analytical Devices. He has a distinguished career spanning more than 32 years as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Most recently he was the DEA Headquarters staff coordinator for the Office of Foreign Operations for the Middle East-Europe-Afghanistan-India. Prior to that he served as the country attaché in India and Myanmar providing foreign advisory support for counter narcotic enforcement. He also spent 10 years in Pakistan as a special advisor to the US Embassy on various law enforcement issues. Michael is a graduate of the United States Ranger Training Battalion and has a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Technology and Management from the University of Eastern Michigan.

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