The dozen packages were shipped from China to mail centers and residences in Southern California.
One box was labeled as a “Hole Puncher.”
In fact, it was a quarter-ton pill press, which federal investigators allege was destined for a suburban Los Angeles drug lab.
The other packages, shipped throughout January and February, contained materials for manufacturing fentanyl, an opioid so potent that in some forms it can be deadly if touched.
When it comes to the illegal sale of fentanyl, most of the attention has focused on Mexican cartels that are adding the drug to heroin smuggled into the United States.
But Chinese suppliers are providing both raw fentanyl and the machinery necessary for the assembly-line production of the drug powering a terrifying and rapid rise of fatal overdoses across the United States and Canada, according to drug investigators and court documents.