“The most common distribution medium is via the U.S. Postal Service,” the U.S. Treasury said in a statement on Wednesday, when it announced sanctions against a trio of Chinese nationals accused of trafficking illegal fentanyl.
Drug traffickers target U.S. ports of entry and international mail centers, where parcel and vehicle inspections are limited due to staffing shortages and other constraints, experts and officials said.
“The U.S. Postal Service is aggressively working to implement provisions of the STOP Act to keep dangerous drugs from entering the United States from China and other countries,” USPS said in a statement, referring to Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act enacted by U.S. Congress in 2018.
That legislation required the Postal Service to receive advance electronic data (AED) – including the names and addresses of senders and recipients, package contents and other information – on all shipments from China by the end of 2018 and from all countries by the end of 2020.
China’s STOP compliance has lagged and the USPS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have informed China’s postal operator any U.S.-bound shipment without AED may be returned at any time, the postal carrier said.
Meanwhile, USPS and its law enforcement arm, the Postal Inspection Service, continue to work with government and law enforcement agencies to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs like fentanyl, USPS said.