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US Treasury blacklists crypto addresses of suspected Chinese fentanyl traffickers

“Fentanyl Skat” by Nils Wommelsdorf is licensed under CC BY 2.0 at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nilswommelsdorf/34268050184

Fri, 23 Aug 2019, 06:38 am UTC

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has blacklisted several digital currency addresses that allegedly belonged to three Chinese nationals suspected money laundering and drug smuggling.

OFAC identified Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng, and Guanghua Zheng as narcotics trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act in a press release. The agency alleged that they have been running an international drug trafficking operation in the U.S.

As such, it has frozen all their U.S.-based assets and listed email aliases, citizen numbers, and passport information. Bitcoin addresses, including litecoin addresses, believed to be theirs were also added to the Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

The Chinese kingpins that OFAC designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufacturers and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States,” Sigal Mandelkar, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said.

The agency also named two Shanghai-based entities, Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co. Ltd. and the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization.

[Fujing] Zheng and Yan have shipped hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the U.S., targeting customers through online and advertising and sales, and using commercial mail carriers to smuggle their drugs into the United States,” Mandelkar said.

OFAC has partnered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and local enforcement agencies. It also coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Ohio and Southern District of Mississippi, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Cleveland and Gulfport offices, and DEA’s Special Operations Divisions.

The U.S. government recently issued a series of advisories on Wednesday in a bid to strengthen the alertness of the private sector on fentanyl trafficking. The White House issued notices, including an advisory educating financial entities how to detect and report fentanyl-related transactions, and another alerting digital platforms to how distributors might use online marketing to lure customers.

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