Treasury Department identifies Chinse nationals as opioid traffickers

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Chinese national Fujing Zheng and the Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) as significant foreign narcotics traffickers.

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OFAC also designated one additional Chinese national, Guanghua Zheng, for his support to the Zheng DTO’s drug trafficking activities, as well as Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., for being owned or controlled by Fujing Zheng. OFAC also identified Xiaobing Yan (Yan) as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker. These actions are pursuant to the Kingpin Act.

“The Chinese kingpins that OFAC designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States. Zheng and Yan have shipped hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the U.S., targeting customers through online advertising and sales, and using commercial mail carriers to smuggle their drugs into the United States,” Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said. “OFAC and FinCEN’s (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) coordinated action with U.S. law enforcement leverages Treasury’s authorities to confront the deadly synthetic opioid crisis plaguing America.”

FinCEN issued an advisory to alert financial institutions to schemes related to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

“The Bank Secrecy Act data that FinCEN collects, analyzes, and disseminates provides tremendous insight into the illicit financial networks and individuals fueling America’s deadly opioid crisis,” FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco, said. “We are making the financial sector aware of tactics and typologies behind illicit schemes to launder the proceeds of these fatal drug sales, including transactions using digital currency and foreign bank accounts. Financial institutions must be on alert to red flags and other indicators of the complex schemes fentanyl traffickers are employing so that financial institutions can report and share relevant information with law enforcement, and ultimately help save lives.”

The Zheng DTO manufactures and distributes hundreds of controlled substances, including fentanyl analogues such as carfentanil, acetyl fentanyl, and furanyl fentanyl. Zheng created numerous websites to advertise and sell illegal drugs and touted its ability to create custom-ordered drugs that can’t be detected by customs and law enforcement officials when shipped through the mail, according to Treasury officials. The Zheng DTO also created analogues of drugs with slightly different chemical structures but the same or even more potent effect. They even manufactured adulterated cancer medication that replaced the active cancer-fighting ingredient with dangerous synthetic drugs, Treasury officials said.

Since 2000, more than 2,200 individuals and entities have been named pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties range from civil penalties of up to $1,503,470 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million.

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