MIAMI, Florida – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Department of State (State Department) today offered a new reward for information leading to the location, arrest and/or conviction of Chinese national Jian Zhang, one of the leaders of the criminal organization known as the Zhang Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO).
A reward of up to $5 million is being offered under the U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program. As the owner of Zaron Bio-Tech in Shandong Province, China, Zhang used the Internet to promote the sale of various illegal controlled substances and was the principal leader and organizer of a transnational criminal conspiracy that sold controlled substances and controlled substance analogues in the United States and Canada.
According to a 2017 federal indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota, Zhang led an organization that manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogues in at least four known laboratories in China and offered and sold fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to U.S. customers over the Internet. The investigation, coordinated and conducted by DEA and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), revealed that since January 2013, Zhang’s organization shipped thousands of orders of fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and other illicit drugs, pill presses, stamps, or dies used to form fentanyl and fentanyl analogs into pills, by mail or through international package delivery services to customers in the United States. The controlled substances and analogues that Zhang’s organization imported and distributed in the United States resulted in the overdose deaths of four individuals in North Dakota, Oregon, North Carolina, and New Jersey, and serious physical injuries to five others.
In a January 2018 supplemental indictment, Zhang, along with several other U.S., Canadian, and PRC nationals, was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota with continuing criminal enterprise (CCE), conspiracy to traffic drugs, conspiracy to commit international money laundering, and trafficking in illegal drugs resulting in death and/or serious bodily injury. Several of the U.S. citizens have already been sentenced to terms ranging from 20 years to life in prison. These severe penalties result from provisions of U.S. law that impose a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess certain controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in death.
The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Jian Zhang, also known as Zhang Jian, also known as “Hong Kong Zaron.” The reward is also being offered for information leading to the apprehension of Zhang as the leader of a transnational organized crime group.
Whether this will succeed in bringing Zhang Jian to justice is questionable, as his network appears to be impenetrable and U.S. authorities do not seem to know what the man looks like or where he might currently be. So the hunt for the Phantom continues.