Action Coordinated with Authorities in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
WASHINGTON – Today, in coordination with partners in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK), the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Alex Adrianus Martinus Peijnenburg (Peijnenburg), Martinus Pterus Henri De Koning (De Koning), Matthew Simon Grimm (Grimm), and nine entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14059 for supplying illicit fentanyl, synthetic stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids to U.S. markets through internet sales and a host of shell companies. Today’s action represents the first use of E.O. 14059 to target those involved in the sale of illicit drugs purchased online and via darknet marketplaces.
“The Treasury Department will continue to deploy its counternarcotics authorities to disrupt those involved in the fentanyl global supply chain,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury is identifying over 50 virtual wallet addresses associated with this network’s drug trafficking activities as we take further action to counter the abuse of virtual currency. I would like to thank our Dutch and UK partners and U.S. law enforcement counterparts for their partnership and for enabling today’s action.”
Dutch nationals Peijnenburg and De Koning started their illicit drug trafficking enterprise on the darkweb, where they engaged in the direct sale of fentanyl analogues—acrylfentanyl, furanylfentanyl, and isobutryfentanyl—as well as various other synthetic opioids, to U.S. consumers. In 2017, the pair were arrested by the National Police of the Netherlands for participating in the sale and distribution of synthetic stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids through their Dutch company, Research Group Nederland, which is now doing business as Green District B.V. Despite their arrest, Peijnenburg and De Koning continued to engage in drug trafficking. Between November 2018 and February 2021, the two generated millions of dollars in virtual currency from illicit drug proceeds through a synthetic drug sales website, therealrc.com—which was maintained by Peijnenburg. Visitors reached the site through advertisements on popular social media platforms and were able to purchase controlled substances via bank transfers or virtual currency. Bank transfer accounts listed on therealrc.com belonged to De Koning, as well as Best Sport Company—a Dutch company owned by De Koning and used by Peijnenburg to launder drug trafficking proceeds from therealrc.com.
Peijnenburg was designated for having engaged in, or having attempted to engage in, activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production. De Koning was designated for having provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, Peijnenberg. Also designated are Netherlands-based companies Organic District B.V., Green District B.V., Bellizo, A.A.M. Peijnenburg Holding B.V., and Best Sport Company B.V., which were designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Peijnenburg. In addition, King Trade B.V. and Best Sport Company were designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, De Koning.
Grimm, a UK national, is the registered owner of Smokeyschemsite.com—an online marketplace known to have sold Schedule I controlled substances to U.S. customers and received payments through virtual currency. In addition, Netherlands-based Natural Gifts B.V. and UK-based Erjm Limited were designated for being for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Grimm.
These actions would not have been possible without the cooperation and support of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.
Today’s action is part of a whole-of-government effort to counter the global threat posed by the trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States that causes the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans annually, as well as countless more non-fatal overdoses. OFAC, in coordination with its U.S. government partners and foreign counterparts, will continue to target and pursue accountability for foreign illicit drug actors.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please visit here.