Chuck Grassley Questions Vanita Gupta’s Stake in Company Accused of Enabling Mexican Cartels’ Heroin Production

US President Donald Trump (C), with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (C L), speaks during his visit to US Border Patrol McAllen Station in McAllen, Texas, on January 10, 2019. - Trump travels to the US-Mexico border as part of his all-out offensive to build a wall. At the event, …
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The Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), seeks answers from Vanita Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, about her stake in a family-owned business that has “sold acetic anhydride to Mexican cartels, which is used to make high-grade ‘china white’ heroin and methamphetamine.”

Breitbart News reported on Thursday about Vanita Gupta’s $11 to $55 million asset holding in Avantor, which is chaired by her father, Raj Gupta, who, according to Bloomberg, has “stopped all Mexican and Latin American sales of acetic anhydride, the only essential heroin chemical,” just as Mexican authorities launched an investigation into the matter.

Grassley has submitted questions for the record to Gupta in regards to her stake in the enterprise, “especially in light of the diversion of its products in Mexico and her own previous statements on decriminalization of possession for all drugs,” Grassley’s aide, Taylor Foy, wrote.

Grassley suspects Gupta to have a potential conflict of interest considering her policy positions on decriminalizing heroin and methamphetamine possession.

The Iowa senator questioned Gupta:

Do you agree, then, that there is a potential undisclosed conflict of interest in your prior public advocacy for the decriminalization of heroin and methamphetamine possession because of the likely profit such a policy would allow a precursor-manufacturer like Avantor — whose stock you hold — to capture?

Vanita Gupta has previously said she would disengage from the family’s business.

In response to the ballooning concerns, Avantor issued a statement expressing discontinuation of “all sales of the product in Mexico and throughout Latin America… out of an abundance of caution, due to the potential for misuse of acetic anhydride outside of the regulated supply chain.”

It is worth noting Joe Biden’s campaign platform stated he would “hold accountable big Pharma companies, executives, and others responsible for their role in triggering the opioid crisis, Also indicating that he intends to “[d]irect the U.S. Justice Department to take actions that spurred this crisis a top investigative and, where appropriate, civil and criminal enforcement priority.”

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