CBSN

Buying deadly drugs online from China takes just minutes

A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police opens a printer ink bottle containing the opioid carfentanil imported from China, in Vancouver, June 27, 2016.

AP

SHANGHAI -- A few thousand dollars, a few minutes and a decent internet connection are all it takes to source carfentanil online from multiple Chinese vendors. 

Two Associated Press reporters, working independently, documented multiple offers from the companies listed below to export carfentanil, a substance so toxic it has been researched as a chemical weapon and described as a terrorist threat.

These are not your typical drug barons. Many come off as solicitous business owners, starting emails with “Hi, dear,” and writing scrupulous follow-up notes to drum up sales. They sent price lists and photos of their merchandise, and promoted their wares, in English, on major business-to-business websites. 


Carfentanil -- whose median October price from the companies below was $3,700 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) -is banned from general use in the United States, where it is suspected in hundreds of overdoses . Fentanyl, acetylfentanyl and alpha-PVP are controlled substances in both China and the U.S. Many vendors also bragged openly about their ability to circumvent customs authorities around the world.

The companies’ cheery let’s-do-business attitude changed when the AP followed up with questions about the legality of the sales.

The AP did not actually order any of these products, nor test to see if they were genuine. 

In Utah Thursday, police said the cause of death for two 13-year-old boys in September was a new deadly synthetic drug bought overseas. 

Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver died of acute intoxication of a drug called U-47700, sometimes known as “pink,” Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said in a statement, citing results from the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.

The drug got to Park City after other local teens ordered it from China, according to search warrants. One teenager has been charged with distribution of a controlled substance and reckless endangerment as police investigate a group of kids in the picturesque town known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival.