The police of the three provinces jointly cracked the major case of manufacturing and selling "zombie medicine"

China Newsweek reporter/Zhou Qunfeng

Published in the 2023th issue of China Newsweek magazine on April 4, 3

"There is often a pungent smell in our community recently, so let's check it." In May 2021, when a community police officer visited a community in Laosangtang Town, Jiaxiang County, Jining City, Shandong Province, he received similar feedback from many residents. According to the description, the police suspected that there was a drug-making den in the community, so they reported the clue to the anti-drug brigade of the Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau.

This clue eventually led to a major case - the case of gun-related drug trafficking jointly investigated by the police of Shandong, Shanxi and Henan provinces supervised by the Ministry of Public Security. After several months of investigation, more than 100 people involved in the case were arrested, a number of drug-making dens were destroyed, and a large number of drug-making equipment, raw materials, and finished and semi-finished products of the drug methcathinone were seized.

Methcathinone, best known as "bath salt", also known as "zombie medicine", first synthesized by the University of Illinois in the United States in 1928, is generally a powder or liquid mixed with water, because of its appearance like sea salt, so it is called "bath salt".

Long-term or excessive use of methcathinone, delusions, hallucinations and other mental disorders, and then loss of control and violent aggression, excessive use will also cause irreversible permanent brain damage and even death. There have been many vicious incidents of "biting other people's faces" after smoking the drug at home and abroad.

In May 2012, a violent incident occurred in Miami, USA. Eugene, a naked man, suddenly attacked a homeless man on the MacArthur Highway causeway in Miami until the arriving police shot Eugene to death, but the homeless man's face had been gnawed off three-quarters by the time. The police investigation said that before the incident, Eugene had smoked methcathinone.

In August 2016, a 8-year-old college student in Florida killed an unknown couple in a garage, and when police arrived at the scene, the killer was biting the male victim's face.

The Zhejiang Provincial Anti-Narcotics Association once posted on the WeChat public account that there are no zombies in the real world, but the abuse of methcathinone stimulants will turn a normal person into a very violent and aggressive "zombie".

Li Wenjun, director of the Center for Drug Control Theory and Policy at Chinese Minmin Public Security University, told China Newsweek that the abuse of methcathinone in China was discovered around 2010, and abuse cases were found in more than a dozen provinces and cities including Shanxi, Henan and Inner Mongolia.

She has led the research group to visit compulsory isolation drug rehabilitation centers in Shanxi, Henan and other places, and grassroots case-handling personnel and drug rehabilitation personnel generally reported that methcathinone is easy to become addicted, very addicted, and very damaging to the spirit.

The main offender of the post-90s generation was caught when trading across provinces

After receiving the clues, the anti-narcotics brigade of the Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau immediately conducted on-site visits. Deputy captain Lu Dairin told China Newsweek that residents reported that a number of suspicious people have often walked around the community recently, and the final destination is almost all room 17, Unit 2, Building 402 of the community.

Room 402 is indeed suspicious. After the investigation, the police found that the electricity consumption of room 402 exceeded that of ordinary residents, and the sewage discharged contained chemical components of raw materials for poison production. Therefore, the anti-drug brigade basically determined that there was a drug production and trafficking gang hidden here, and the drug involved was methcathinone.

Lu Dairin told China Newsweek that after smoking methcathinone, the performance is similar to smoking methamphetamine, some people will be so excited that they do not sleep for several days and nights, but they are very tired and hallucinations. There was a meth addict standing on a viaduct, and after seeing the anti-drug police, he shouted "I can fly", and then jumped to his death. Another meth addict, on the way to the compulsory drug rehabilitation center by Ludairin, kept saying in a panic that someone in the back seat pointed a gun at him and was about to explode his head at any time.

At the same time, the anti-narcotics brigade also discovered that this gang had Jiang Moujun as the main suspect. Jiang Moujun was born in June 1991, has only primary school education, and his household registration is in Jiaxiang County. He himself smoked methcathinone and was forcibly banned twice by the police. In January 6, he was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years, and fined 2014,1 yuan by the Qingzhou Municipal People's Court in Shandong Province for the crime of stealing ancient tombs.

Due to the large number of people involved in this case and the complexity of the case, the Jining police decided to establish a special case team on June 2021, 6. Lu Qinghua, deputy director of the Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau, told China Newsweek that the task force is led by the anti-narcotics detachment of the Jining Municipal Public Security Bureau, and includes more than 28 people, including several police stations of the Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau, anti-narcotics brigades, network security, special police, and criminal police.

Coincidentally, at this time, the Changzhi police in Shanxi Province were also investigating a drug production and trafficking case involving methcathinone, the drug addict was in Changzhi, and the drug manufacturing den was in Jiaxiang County, Jining City, and the drug manufacturer and drug trafficker were pointing to Jiang Moujun. The police of the two places decided to jointly handle the case.

As the investigation deepened, the police discovered that the "drug technician" in the case (a person who was familiar with the technology of drug production and instructed others to make drugs) was Gao Moujun, a native of Yindu District, Anyang City, Henan Province. Gao was born in 1973, and like Jiang Moujun, he not only produces drugs, but also smokes this drug, and has many drug trafficking records.

So far, the case has involved Shandong, Shanxi and Henan provinces, with many people involved and complicated circumstances, and the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security has listed the case as a drug target case for supervision. After gradually clarifying the organizational structure, personnel, division of responsibilities, and drug production processes and sales channels of the drug trafficking network, the Ministry of Public Security directed the police of the three provinces to launch a joint network collection operation.

The methcathinone made by Jiang Moujun and others is mainly sold to smokers in Changzhi City. Each time, the drug addict used the phone to communicate with Jiang Moujun, asking about the progress of his methcathinone production and when it would be delivered. In order to ensure safety, Jiang Moujun always personally drove to Changzhi to trade, not logistics.

Zhao Tongen, captain of the anti-drug brigade of the Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau, told China Newsweek that during the investigation, the anti-drug police learned an important clue: Jiang Moujun will drive the finished methcathinone to Changzhi on August 2021, 8. After the comprehensive study and judgment of the special case team, under the unified command of the Ministry of Public Security, the police of the three provinces decided to take advantage of this opportunity to jointly close the net.

In the early morning of August 2021, 8, Jiang Moujun called Li Mouxiang, a drug addict in Changzhi, and told him that methcathinone had been made and agreed on a trading location. At about 6 a.m. that day, Jiang drove from Jiaxiang County and arrived in Lucheng District, Changzhi City, after about 10 hours of driving, to trade with Li Mouxiang. The Changzhi police saw that the transaction between the two was completed and immediately arrested them.

During the search, the police found a red plastic bag containing methcathinone between the front seats of Jiang's military vehicle, which weighed 398.35 grams. The Changzhi police further followed the vine, and more drug addicts were also arrested.

On the same day, the Jining police in Shandong Province began a net collection operation against drug producers, arresting six members of the drug gang including He Mouteng, Jiang Moudong and Sun Mousheng in Jiaxiang County, Liangshan County, Heze Yancheng County and other places, and destroyed a number of drug production dens.

Lu Dailin said that more than ten barrels of armored cathinone semi-finished products, weighing more than 300 kilograms, were found in the drug den, and at the same time, 1 homemade gun and 2 bullets with lethal power were seized. The suspect said that the gun came from the "drug technician" Gao Huajun. On August 8 of the same year, the police in Anyang, Henan Province, took action, and Gao Moujun and four other people were arrested in Shuiye Town, Yindu District, the city, these four were villagers in the same village.

To evade the blow of the Cunning Rabbit Five Caves

After interrogation, the suspect confessed more details of the crime.

Jiang Moujun and Gao Moujun were both forcibly banned by the Changzhi police for smoking methcathinone, and the two became "drug friends". Jiang Moujun also bought methcathinone from Gao's army and went to Changzhi to sell it. After this "business partnership", he wanted to invite Gao Zhijun to Jiaxiang County to teach how to make methcathinone, and then bring the drugs to Changzhi to sell.

Lu Delin told China Newsweek that when Gao was first interrogated, he found that Gao looked extremely mentally abnormal due to long-term methcathinone smoking, sometimes expressionless, and sometimes suddenly emotional and irritable. He was very uncooperative with the police, and it was not until one by one evidence was placed in front of him that he admitted the fact of drug production and confessed to the process of cooperating with Jiang Moujun.

According to his account, at the end of 2020, Jiang Moujun invited Gao Moujun from Anyang, Henan Province to Jiaxiang County. Jiang's brother-in-law, He Mouteng, was a welder who had an unused house in the village that became his original drug-making den. In order to convince He Mouteng, Jiang Moujun told him that after making methcathinone, he could have a profit of several million yuan, and He Mouteng was moved.

After pulling He Mouteng in, Jiang Moujun felt that there were still not enough manpower, and successively found Jiang Moudong (a villager in the same village as Jiang Moujun), Sun Mousheng (a native of Liangshan County, Jining City, Jiang Moujun's friend) and other 5 people to participate in drug production. These people have different divisions of labor, some are responsible for purchasing raw materials, others are responsible for transporting materials, etc.

Later, Jiang Moujun felt that this vacant house was not safe enough, and began to change the dens frequently. The suspects confessed that they often received complaints from residents near the rented house because of the odor they produced during their drug production, and they repeatedly moved to escape police crackdowns. From November 2020 to August 11, Jiang Huajun and others changed 2021 drug-making sites, including a village in Yuncheng County, Heze City, a community in Jiaxiang County, Jining City, and an elderly apartment.

On August 2021, 8, Jining police divided into 6 roads and unified the net of He Mouteng and other 6 people. The arrest sites were in Jiaxiang County, Heze Yuncheng County, Jining Liangshan County, etc. On the same day, Jiang's army was arrested in Changzhi, and the next day, Gao's army was arrested in Anyang. So far, all the above seven people have been arrested.

Among the several people, the most impressive thing for the police was that Sun Mousheng fiercely resisted when he was captured at his home in Liangshan County, and many police officers went up to control him. Lu Delin introduced that after interrogation, the main purpose of Sun Mousheng's participation in drug production was to learn "poison making technology" and make money on his own, "As soon as we arrived at his home, we smelled a pungent smell, and his home was equipped with beakers, stirrers, vibration pumps, reactors and other poison making tools, as well as hydrochloric acid, toluene and other poison making raw materials." He also looked up the method of making methcathinone online." Sun Mousheng confessed that he lost hundreds of thousands of yuan because of his participation in online gambling, and wanted to pay off debts and make a lot of money by learning to make drugs.

On April 2022, 4, the Lucheng District People's Court of Changzhi City rendered a first-instance judgment on Jiang's case.

The verdict shows that Jiang Moujun trafficked, transported, and manufactured the drug methcathinone a total of 16 times for 1373.9 grams, and collected 81250 yuan in drug funds. The Jiaxiang County Public Security Bureau seized a total of 306.785 kilograms of liquid containing methcathinone from Jiang's residence. From June to August 2021, Jiang Huajun and others successfully manufactured 6 grams of solid methcathinone.

Jiang Moujun did not dispute the facts of the charges, the charges and the sentencing recommendations. His defender pointed out that Jiang truthfully confessed the facts of his crime, voluntarily admitted guilt and accepted punishment, had a good attitude of admitting guilt, some of the drugs involved in the case did not flow to society, and the guns were not used, and suggested that the court give Jiang a lighter punishment. The court of first instance adopted the defence opinion.

The court of first instance found Jiang Moujun guilty of trafficking, transporting, and manufacturing narcotics, harboring others to take drugs, and illegally possessing firearms, and was sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment, confiscation of 10,5 yuan of property, and a fine of 81250,<> yuan. According to law, <>,<> yuan of defendant Jiang Moujun's illegal income was recovered and turned over to the state treasury.

Of the six suspects arrested by the Jining police, three were not arrested by the prosecution because of minor circumstances (only helping to dump waste, carry things, etc.). Among the other three, He Mouteng, Jiang Moudong and Sun Mousheng were sentenced to 9 years, 9 years and 6 months, and 10 years in prison by the Jiaxiang County People's Court, respectively.

Behind the frequent occurrence of "zombie medicine" cases

In the above cases, the place name Changzhi in Shanxi has appeared repeatedly. It is known that there, there are more smokers of methcathinone, which is called "tendon" by the locals.

The Shanxi Evening News once reported that as early as the sixties and seventies of the last century, Changzhi City and its surrounding areas had a custom of smoking caffeine, because it was conducive to local coal miners and coal transport drivers working continuously for a long time. By the nineties, in order to make smokers feel more excited, traffickers began to add additives to the caffeine they smoked, which was commonly known as "tendon" in the drug market.

The initial addition of "tendon" was ephedrine, which was later difficult to obtain due to increased state control of ephedrine, coupled with the emergence of heroin and the "new drug" methamphetamine, which had an impact on the drug market. Later, methcathinone was introduced as a more potent "tendon" and eventually developed into methcathinone alone.

The Taiyuan Public Security Bureau in Shanxi Province held a press conference in June 2019 to introduce the epidemic history of methcathinone in Changzhi, Shanxi.

At the press conference, the anti-narcotics police said that in early 2010, a drug commonly known as "tendon" appeared in Changzhi City, with a market price ranging from 3000,6000 yuan to 2010,<> yuan, "At that time, our public security organs did not know the details of 'tendon', and in the first half of <>, the local public prosecution law generally treated such cases as caffeine."

The anti-narcotics police said that the abuse of "tendons" spread rapidly, there was a lot of discussion in the society, and leaders also issued instructions calling for severe crackdowns and finding out the source. Since then, the Changzhi police have stepped up their crackdown and explored the source of drugs; On the other hand, it is also seeking the help of technical identification and relevant legal basis, and after the identification of the National Drug Laboratory, I learned that this drug, commonly known as "tendon" in Changzhi, Shanxi, is called methcathinone.

"Due to the temptation of huge profits, there was gradually a situation where drug producers from other provinces made methcathinones in other provinces and sold them to Changzhi City." Police introduction.

On April 2011, 4, Changzhi police cracked a huge drug trafficking case led by Li Wuzhi, a native of Anyang, Henan Province, and destroyed his methcathinone manufacturer in Tianjin. At this stage, the price of methcathinone in the drug market soared, from 17,6000 yuan to 1,2 yuan per kilogram at the beginning, to 2010,6 yuan per kilogram in the second half of 2011, and more than 10,<> yuan per kilogram in <>.

In recent years, there have been more and more cases involving methcathinone. Li Wenjun, director of the Anti-Drug Theory and Policy Research Center of Chinese Minmin Public Security University, told China Newsweek that the problem of smoking and trafficking methcathinone-based cathinone drugs has become increasingly prominent, and the number of cases and seizures are on the rise.

Police in Shanxi, Henan, Tianjin, Hebei and other places have cracked cases of manufacturing and trafficking methcathinone, and some of the people involved have even been sentenced to death. For example, in January 2018, The Straits Herald reported that the Longyan City Intermediate People's Court in Fujian Province rendered a first-instance judgment in an extraordinarily large manufacturing case of methcathinone, sentencing defendant Huang Xiao to death for the crime of manufacturing drugs; The defendants Chen Guomou and Chen Mei were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, and the other nine defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment to 1 years. The court found that Huang Xiao and others manufactured the drug methcathinone, of which 5.3583 kg of finished products and 1841.6 kg of semi-finished products.

The regulation of methcathinone has changed as a result. Li Wenjun said that substances such as methcathinone are not listed drugs in themselves, and are not legally produced or used in China, so it is easy to use replacement chemical functional groups to find new "drug substitutes". To this end, China has formed a dynamic addition control model by updating the "List of Varieties of Narcotic Drugs and Catalogue of Varieties of Psychotropic Substances" many times, and adding the "Supplementary List of Controlled Varieties of Non-medicinal Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances" in a timely manner.

She said that methcathinone was listed as a Class I psychotropic substance in China in 2005, and 4-methylmethcathinone (Mephed-rone), which later had abuse problems, was also listed as a Class I psychotropic substance for control in 2010. At present, China's fine hemp drug list has listed more than ten kinds of cathinone, including methcathinone, 4-methylmethcathinone, 4-methylethylcathinone, etc.

Li Wenjun introduced that taking methcathinone as an example, all drug production crimes are underground illegal production, simple process, easy availability of raw materials, scattered production, many source channels, different purity, low price. The number of trafficking cases in a single case is relatively large, and the number of drugs involved in individual cases has reached the order of tons. For the problem of smoking, there is still a lack of efficient and sensitive drug use detection methods specifically for methcathinone. All of this has had a certain impact on the fight against such crimes.

Changzhi City has issued a series of institutional documents such as the "Implementation Plan for the Two-Year Campaign to Control Methcathinone in Changzhi City", detailing the content of anti-drug work to a timetable, road map, and task book, and all districts and counties have invested a total of more than 6000 million yuan to promote special work, so that "anti-drug socialization", including the detection of a series of extra-large drug trafficking gang cases, while "grasping the big and not letting go of the small", keeping a close eye on zero-package drug trafficking cases, and strictly managing drug-related personnel, drug-related places and precursor chemicals in key areas and industries. Provide wholehearted assistance to drug addicts and consolidate the effectiveness of detoxification. In addition, drug prevention education and information are carried out among young people as an important group.

Li Wenjun pointed out that the management of the cathinone drug problem should indeed adhere to "fighting and preventing at the same time". On the one hand, prevention is the first priority, targeted anti-drug publicity and prevention education are carried out for key groups, and such drugs have certain ability to recognize, prevent and resist drugs; On the other hand, cracking down harshly, cracking down on drug crimes in the whole chain from source to terminal, and maintaining an active offensive posture against drug crimes, can effectively curb the momentum of the spread of drug situations.

China Newsweek, Issue 2023, 12

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