July 19, 2023

OFAC sanctions European and North American drug traffickers

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury has sanctioned three Belgian citizens and one Mexican national pursuant to Executive Order 14059, as part of a coordinated effort to disrupt the global trade in illicit drugs.

Belgian nationals Othman and Younes El Ballouti operate a drug smuggling and money laundering organization that uses the port of Antwerp as a base for the distribution of drugs throughout Europe.  Their compatriot, Youssef Ben Azza, helps the El Balloutis establish seemingly legitimate companies to help conceal the drug trafficking business and launder its proceeds.  They were designated for contributing to the international proliferation of illicit drugs.

The fourth individual sanctioned today, Franco Tabarez Martinez, works with the Nueva Familia Michoacana drug trafficking organization, which was designated by OFAC in 2022.  Tabarez was also designated for supporting the production and international proliferation of illicit drugs.  He was indicted in the US District Court for the Norther District of Georgia on July 7, 2023.

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.

US Dept of the Treasury press release