Beijing is fueling the fentanyl crisis in Canada and the United States through a sophisticated web involving drug cartels, loan sharks, and foreign casinos, investigative journalist and author Sam Cooper says.
How Chinese money was funneled through such a web was described by Cooper as the “Vancouver model” in his book “Wilful Blindness: How a Network of Narcos, Tycoons and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West,” based on his investigations into crime networks in cities including Toronto and Vancouver.
Cooper said in a recent interview with EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program that Chinese organized crime figures “have become the major movers of financial crime money around the world,” as the model can be found in major U.S. cities.
“We can say that in cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, and others, I can see the very same underground banking, Vancouver-model activity,” Cooper said, where drug money was moved around on secret ledgers without the need for wire transfers across borders.
That model has surfaced because of China’s capital control, Cooper said, because each citizen in communist China has a foreign exchange limit of $50,000 a year. As a result, in order to move large sums overseas, for activities such as buying a condo in foreign cities, wealthy Chinese would, for example, need to seek out underground banking channels.
Cooper explained how the Vancouver model works: Gang members from Vancouver travel to casinos in Macau, targeting wealthy Chinese gamblers, including Chinese officials who wish to get their money out of China. The two sides strike a deal and Chinese gamblers travel to Vancouver, using cash supplied by local loan sharks who get the money from drug dealers.