Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four individuals and one entity pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). The four individuals were designated for providing support to the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), which is run by Chinese synthetic opioid trafficker Fujing Zheng. These designations include Songyan Ji, Longbao Zhang, Guifeng Cheng, and Guangfu Zheng, all located in China. OFAC also designated Global United Biotechnology Inc. for being owned or controlled by the Zheng DTO. OFAC previously identified Fujing Zheng and the Zheng DTO as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in August 2019.
“Fentanyl and other drugs have caused overwhelming devastation to communities across America,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich. “The United States is committed to holding drug traffickers and those who facilitate their operations accountable for the suffering they impose upon American families.”
OFAC designated Songyan Ji, Longbao Zhang, Guifeng Cheng, and Guangfu Zheng for facilitating payments for the purchase of fentanyl analogues or other controlled substances, including synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones, for the Zheng DTO, which is directed by Fujing Zheng. The Zheng DTO manufactures and distributes hundreds of controlled substances, including fentanyl analogues such as carfentanil, acetyl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl. The Zheng DTO laundered its drug proceeds in part by using digital currency such as bitcoin, transmitted drug proceeds into and out of bank accounts in China and Hong Kong, and bypassed currency restrictions and reporting requirements. OFAC also designated Global United Biotechnology Inc., which is managed by Fujing Zheng, and was a virtual storefront for the Zheng DTO to sell its deadly substances. In August 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio unsealed a 43-count indictment in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, charging Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng with operating a conspiracy that manufactured and shipped deadly fentanyl analogues, cathinones, and cannabinoids to at least 37 U.S. states and 25 countries. Fujing Zheng remains in China.
OFAC closely coordinated today’s action with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Cleveland office, Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Cleveland office, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Cleveland office, and the DEA’s Special Operations Division, including assigned attorneys from the Department of Justice’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals and the entity that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
Since June 2000, more than 2,200 individuals and entities have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,529,991 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.