Ben Westhoff


Excerpt in The Atlantic

Benjamin Westhoff (6).jpg

Today, The Atlantic published an excerpt from Fentanyl, Inc, entitled, “A Poison Factory in Plain Sight.” It’s about a Chinese chemical company called Yuancheng, pictured above, which operates out of a dilapidated hotel in the city of Wuhan. Employing hundreds of perky, recent college graduates as salespeople, it sells fentanyl precursors to Mexican cartels, American consumers, and anyone else who wants them. Fentanyl precursors are the main ingredients needed to make fentanyl, and are fueling the epidemic here in the United States; Yuancheng appears to sell more of them than any other company in the world. I’m very proud of this piece, and reporting it was quite an adventure. Yuancheng was one of two Chinese drug operations I infiltrated for Fentanyl, Inc. The book also describes my harrowing journey into a Shanghai lab, which synthesized fentanyl analogues and had Scarface-style mountains of drugs lying around.