3GIMBALS

Bargaining with the Beast: U.S.-China Efforts to Curb the Fentanyl Epidemic 

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Over 1 million Americans have died from drug overdoses since 2000, with some 70-80% of these deaths involving a fatal dose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. In 2023, the U.S. government seized 77 million fentanyl pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. These record seizures represent enough to kill every American. At the heart of this crisis are precursor chemicals, almost exclusively manufactured and exported from China to the Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco cartel organizations. China likely views this complex intersection of public health and international relations as a bargaining chip to gain concessions from the U.S. 

Tracing Illegal Logging and Influence from Peru to China

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Criminal organizations and malign state actors exploit natural resources across their regions of influence. High demand for natural resources drives increased exploitation and foreign investment. 3GIMBALS recently analyzed strategic competitors’ activities and followed the flow of media, natural resources, and money to track influence.

What we found illuminates the dark truth that authorities have been hypothesizing. Our research exposes foreign investment and economic influence on natural resource exploitation by strategic competitors.