U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams announced that the 21st person had been indicted as a result of an investigation into a drug-trafficking operation that led to four overdoses in Oregon.
Jian Zhang, a 38-year-old Chinese national, faces federal charges related to shipping fentanyl to the U.S. from China. The fentanyl was distributed through the dark web around the country, including in Oregon, and resulted in at least one death in the state.
Three Oregonians, all Portland residents, have been implicated in the ongoing federal investigation: Channing Lacey, 30, Carissa Marie Laprall, 25, and Steven Fairbanks Locke, 41, all pled guilty to charges related to distributing the illicit and powerful opioid earlier this year.
"The illegal distribution of fentanyl and related opioids is a true national crisis that has left a trail of death and destruction across the country," Williams said in a statement.
"This case highlights both the international scope of the problem and the willingness and ability of our two districts to work together to reach out across borders to shut down and prosecute these merchants of death – I am proud of the work our team has done."
A WW cover story in July chronicled one Portland woman's overdose death from synthetic opioids ordered through the dark web, and Portland police officers' successful investigation of the dealer. Today's announcement involves a different supplier.