Good afternoon. It’s great to be back at the Department of Justice representing Secretary Yellen and the Treasury as we announce another important action in the fight against the global illicit drug trade. Working so closely with the team here has made our actions more effective at disrupting the supply of the deadly drugs that kill so many Americans each year.
Today, Treasury is imposing major new sanctions against 28 individuals and entities involved in the illicit drug trade that traffics deadly substances like fentanyl and xylazine into the United States.
Effective immediately, these individuals and entities, located in the People’s Republic of China and in Canada, are cut off from using the U.S. financial system and all U.S. persons are barred from transacting with them. Additionally, we have identified and blocked over a dozen virtual currency wallets associated with these actors. The blocked wallets, which received millions of USD funds over hundreds of deposits, illustrate the scope and scale of the operation targeted today.
This action was the result of incredibly hard work from our teams at the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the IRS Criminal Investigations
division. It’s the latest step in the rapid scaling up of our work targeting the financial flows that power the global illicit drug trade.
The reason I am here today is to send a crystal-clear signal to those whose line of work involves trafficking a product that robs Americans of their lives; and that robs children from their parents and parents from their children all over our country. If you are engaged in this illegal business, know that the talented men and women of the Department of the Treasury are laser focused on finding and freezing your money.
In addition to the actions we are taking today, I have asked my colleagues at Treasury to expand our targeting approach to include the friends, family members, and affiliates of criminals that benefit from the sale of these drugs. If you benefit from the proceeds of this illicit activity, we are going to come after your assets.
A network-focused approach is essential to going after these criminals. At Treasury, our tools are uniquely suited to combat this system hiding beneath the surface. From our counter-narcotics sanctions to financial intelligence collection and information sharing, we use these tools, alongside law enforcement, to accomplish three main things:
First, we identify the key individuals, entities, and networks involved in drug trafficking to support ongoing investigations and prosecutions and expose them to the wider private sector.
- Second, we freeze and disrupt the operating capital criminals need to manufacture and transport these illicit substances.
- Third, we stop or recover the proceeds from drug sales, either through the U.S. financial system or through those of partner countries.
By exerting simultaneous pressure on various elements of transnational criminal organization like chemical suppliers, cooks or chemists, and transportation coordinators, we maximize impact and disruption.
The targets we designated today are a great example of this global approach, and they are the latest in our many recent rounds of sanctions that have also targeted counterfeit pill makers, cash couriers, and cartel fraud schemes. In fact, the Biden-Harris administration has imposed over 200 sanctions related to the illicit drug trade at all steps in the supply chain.
We will continue to work with our international partners, the private sector, and across the U.S. government to bring all our tools to bear against this deadly ecosystem.
I’d now like to turn things over to my colleague from the DEA, Anne Milgram, whose team has coordinated extremely closely with the Treasury throughout this entire investigation.