US Issues Sanctions in Attempt to Curb Fentanyl Trafficking

( – The Biden administration imposed sanctions on Mexican cartel members on November 7, after accusing them of trafficking fentanyl and other illegal drugs to the United States. Authorities sanctioned four members of the Sonora cartel and 13 members of the Sinaloa cartel, which is the most powerful criminal organization in Mexico and Latin America.

The sanctions take place after a series of measures taken by the White House this year against the Sinaloa cartel, along with cartel fraud schemes and even cash couriers. Authorities said these sanctions also targeted a chief of cartel operations in Nogales -along with his family and associates- who oversaw the illegal trafficking of drugs into the country. Also sanctioned are an import-export company, a mining company, and a restaurant. These sanctions cut them off from the American banking system, block their US assets, and block their ability to negotiate and work with American citizens.

Undersecretary for financial intelligence and terrorism of the Treasury Department, Brian Nelson, said in a statement that the Biden administration will “aggressively pursue” those who are complicit facilitators and operators of fentanyl networks. He added that the Treasury will keep using its power to isolate and expose criminals who make money from “deadly fentanyl sales” in the country.

Fentanyl, which is one of the most powerful opioids, is currently the deadliest drug in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from drug overdose skyrocketed from 2015 to 2021. Over 100,000 deaths in the country have been associated with drug overdoses since 2020, with nearly two-thirds of them directly related to fentanyl.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), China and Mexico are currently the main sources of the drug and even fentanyl-related substances that are trafficked directly into the country. The agency said that almost every single precursor chemical that is needed to make the drug comes from China. It added that the firms that make the precursors usually mislabel the products and use fake return addresses to prevent being caught by US law enforcement.

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