On October 3, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned 28 individuals and entities involved in the international proliferation of illicit drugs, 25 of which are based in China and are part of a Chinese illicit drug syndicate responsible for the manufacture and distribution of mass quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and MDMA precursors. All of the designees are also allegedly involved in the trafficking of xylazine and “natazenes,” which are highly potent chemicals that are often found in the US mixed with illegal drugs such as fentanyl. These sanctions were issued to coincide with related indictments issued by the US Attorney’s Offices in Southern District of Florida and the Middle District of Florida.
OFAC reports that these designations were the result of a collaboration between various parts of Treasury, including OFAC, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal investigations, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security’s US Customs and Border Protection agency as part of the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government offensive to save lives by disrupting the supply of fentanyl from around the globe.
All of the designations were made pursuant to Executive Order 14059 for engaging in activities or transactions that contribute to the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production. As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons unless authorized by OFAC. US persons may also face civil or criminal penalties for violating EO 14059.