Cryptocurrency addresses of three conspicuous Chinese drug smugglers have been blacklisted by the financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the US Treasury Department.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) pulled the plug on alleged money laundering, and drug smuggling racket carried out by three Chinese nationals by freezing all the properties owned by them within the US and registering their assumed identities in the form of alternative emails, social security, and passport numbers.
International drug trafficking operation exposed by US Treasury
The three foremost drug barons were identified as Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng, and Guanghua Zheng, who violated the country’s money laundering and drug trafficking laws by supposedly producing and manufacturing deadly narcotics.
These drugs played a significant part in the opioid epidemic in the US, remarks Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence division.
Finally, on Aug 21, OFAC and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) took a collaborative approach of putting an end to nationwide narcotics trafficking operations by putting financial pressures on the drug lords.
The US treasury pulled out the big guns by adding them to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, which prohibits the US nationals from dealing with them, besides listing and blocking the drug leaders’ twelve different cryptocurrency addresses, which involved eleven of Bitcoin and one Litecoin address.
In addition to these names, the US Treasury also Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization and Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co. Ltd in the SDN list for supposedly supporting the large-scale narcotics trafficking.
Illegal cryptocurrency addresses under the radar
Moreover, a notice was issued to banks and financial institutions around the globe to remain vigilant and come forward with information on wrongdoings.
In an announcement, Kenneth Blanco, FinCEN’s director, forewarns the financial market of the typical typologies and schemes involved in illicit drug trading, which include unwarranted cryptocurrency addresses and overseas bank accounts.
He urges the financial industry to look out for these warning signals and timely notify the law enforcement for prompt actions against these harmful activities.
Meanwhile, the OFAC has been on the lookout for suspicious cryptocurrency addresses for quite some time now. Last year, the agency took two Iranian nationals into custody for purportedly trading illegal Bitcoin payments to Iranian rials. Reportedly, the two cryptocurrency addresses had smuggled millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins.
As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently stated in his interview with CNBC, that moves such as these bring cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, directly under the US financial law enforcement’s radar. The government will do what it takes to ensure that Bitcoin does not turn into another Swiss-numbered bank account and jeopardize the entire financial system of the country, he asserts.