The OSINT Effect
Investigators

James, An Investigator Breaking the Chinese Fentanyl Chain

By
June 5, 2024
5-minute Read
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Fentanyl: a potent synthetic opioid drug 100x stronger than morphine and 100x stronger than heroin. A 2mg dose, as in 42% of pills, is enough to kill. In the USA, a 20-year cycle of growing fentanyl trafficking, use and abuse has now peaked in an average loss of 80,000 lives a year to overdose. This makes fentanyl a wildly disproportionate cause of casualties in America’s opioid epidemic. 

OSINT Industries is helping our platform users to break this deadly chain.

A graph showing the number of drugsDescription automatically generated
Source: Fentanyl Flow to the United States

From China to the United States

Tracking the influx of fentanyl imports to their source is difficult. The DEA believes most fentanyl comes from China, via both direct by-sea smuggling into the US, and notorious drug transports over the Mexican-American border.

After learning more at last year’s DeepSec Conference, one OSINT Industries user began to research these Chinese-based pharmaceutical companies pushing fentanyl into America. When one such pharma company was sanctioned by the US government, James* - a researcher associated with StrikeSource - felt emboldened by OSINT to deepen his investigation.

From Google Dorking to OSINT Industries

Armed with his first fragments of OSINT, James began Google dorking. He not only delineated the different producers associated with this pharma company, but succeeded in collecting workers’ email addresses. Leaked data revealed one of these addresses had connections with the CCP. 

By simply running these email addresses through OSINT Industries, James could uncover corresponding Instagram handles, Weibo accounts - and more.

Using OSINT Industries expedited James’s access to vital information and background on those with CCP connections. He and his investigative partner could now begin to disrupt and unmask facilitators of deadly drug traffic into the USA.

From Silicon to Fentanyl

Continuing to probe into the associated accounts discovered through OSINT Industries could then tie one suspect to an Apple account, Telegram account, and LinkedIn profile. Thanks to this individual’s crucial (but typical) OpSec failure, another LinkedIn profile emerged under a different name; but researching this alias seemed only to expose links to an unrelated science/technology company - with no outward signs of fentanyl production. This company appeared to focus on producing chemicals for the production of silicon. 

With this in mind, James and his partner persevered in seeking connections through OSINT Industries. 

Another profile appeared, linked to a related email address. Unlike the last, this new profile yielded results: it connected directly to an online “pharmacy” selling known fentanyl precursors. This indicated that the same individuals were involved with both a supposedly legitimate producer of silicon, as well as illegitimate fentanyl and fentanyl precursor facilitation. OSINT Industries, therefore, had allowed James to identify this individual with both a source of Chinese fentanyl traffic and a ’legitimate’ silicon manufacturer.

James then utilized another avenue of OSINT Industries examination to find even more details. He pulled another alias from his initial investigation of the ‘legitimate’ silicon company, and through this alias’s LinkedIn profile, James found something pivotal. This individual could be tied to a Chinese multinational generating millions of dollars a year. 

James had uncovered, with our platform, a web of deceit.

Breaking the Chain

OSINT Industries was the key to James’s success. In the coming months, he plans on further developing his findings towards publication.

James hopes that by exposing these critical links via OSINT Industries, others will be inspired to assist him in disrupting the devastating China-US fentanyl supply chain; with OSINT industries, they have tools to break it.

* Names changed to protect the identities of those involved.

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