December 16, 2021

President issues new EO to modernize US efforts to combat illegal drug trade; OFAC designates 25 persons under new EO

On December 15, 2021, President Biden signed a new Executive order, “Imposing Sanctions on Foreign Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade” in order to modernize efforts by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to combat the illicit drug trade.  The new EO, which builds upon previous narcotics sanctions authorities such as EO 12978 (1995) and the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (1999), enables OFAC to target foreign persons who knowingly receive property derived from illegal drug trafficking activities  or are engaged in drug trafficking regardless of whether they have ties to specific kingpin or cartel.  

On the same day, OFAC designated 10 individuals and 15 entities under the new EO for engaging in or attempting to engage in activities that have materially contributed to the international proliferation of illegal drugs or their production. The designated persons include individuals and drug trafficking organizations based in Brazil, China, Columbia and Mexico, and of the 25 designations made by OFAC, 8 were issued to newly-sanctioned individuals and entities while 17 were imposed upon persons sanctioned previously under other authorities.

As a result of the OFAC designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Department of Treasury Press Release | New Executive Order