On May 30, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated 17 entities and individuals based in China and Mexico for their involvement in the international proliferation of equipment, including pill press machines and die molds, used to produce illicit drugs. OFAC reports that the designees are responsible for the sale of equipment used to create counterfeit pills that are often laced with fentanyl and are frequently destined for the US – pills that were the subject of a 2021 public safety alert issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) to warn of the dangers of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. Specifically, OFAC designated 7 entities and 6 individuals based in China and 1 entity and 3 individuals based in Mexico – actions made possible by OFAC’s collaboration with the Government of Mexico and several US law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of Homeland Security’s US Customs and Border Protection Agency.
Among the new designees is Chinese pill press supplier Youli Technology Development Co., Ltd.; online business Tdpmolds; Mexico-based Mexpacking Solutions, which sells pill presses and related equipment and is allegedly controlled by a Sinaloa Cartel pill press supplier, as well as individuals associated with these companies and others. The designations were imposed by OFAC pursuant to Executive Order 14059 for engaging in activities or transactions that contribute to the international proliferation of illegal drugs or their means of production.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of designated individuals and entities 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.