The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States government blacklisted a Mexican drug dealer for utilizing crypto to import the strong and deadly synthetic opioid narcotic fentanyl into the country.
On Sept. 26, the US Treasury made an announcement stating that it has imposed sanctions on 10 individuals, several of whom had affiliations with the notorious Sinaloa Cartel.
Crypto Wallet Used To Facilitate Drug Trade?
One of the individuals included in the blacklist was Mario Alberto Jimenez Castro, a Mexican citizen, who was added through an Ethereum wallet.
The OFAC has designated all 10 individuals for their involvement in drug trafficking activities. Consequently, any assets owned by these individuals within the US will be subject to blocking measures, and it is usually forbidden for US persons to engage in any transactions involving these assets.
The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most destructive transnational criminal organizations in the world, responsible for a large share of the illegal fentanyl and other dangerous drugs transported into the US.
Ether tallies a market cap of $191 billion today. Chart: TradingView.com
In addition, OFAC blacklisted the head of Colombia’s largest criminal organization, the Clan del Golfo, which is responsible for the majority of the country’s cocaine production, distribution, and cultivation, the US Treasury said in a press release.
The Deadly Fentanyl
The synthetic piperidine opioid medication fentanyl, sometimes written fentanil, is an extremely strong painkiller. Fentanyl’s main therapeutic usage is in the treatment of pain in cancer patients and those recuperating from traumatic surgeries because it is 50–100 times more powerful than morphine.
Currently, the leading cause of adult fatalities in the US is opioids, such as fentanyl, which claimed the lives of 80,411 people in 2021—the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Source: Poison Control
Castro was a key figure who directly reported to a commander of the Los Chapitos branch of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, according to the Treasury Department. There is evidence linking this group to a significant amount of the lethal drug trafficking into the US, including illegal fentanyl.
Castro was in charge of overseeing a business that made it easier for Mexican cartel bosses to receive money by using services like wire transfers and cryptocurrency exchanges. Notably, and this is an important aspect in the inquiry, he sent money to Sinaloa Cartel leaders using an Ethereum wallet.
“Today’s actions reinforce the United States’ approach to saving lives by disrupting illicit drug supply chains,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The Department of State has implemented the Narcotic Rewards Program as a means of incentivizing the provision of information that could facilitate the apprehension or legal prosecution of seven individuals who have been designated as targets.
Furthermore, the State department is engaged in a collaborative effort with a global coalition to strengthen international collaboration and execute new strategies designed to disrupt the manufacturing, trafficking, and dissemination of synthetic narcotics inside the illegal marketplace.
Featured image from The Crime Report