The US Treasury is blacklisting specific bitcoin addresses related to Chinese druglords. | Source: Shutterstock
By CCN Markets: The U.S. Treasury Department blackballed the bitcoin addresses of Chinese drug kingpins operating international drug-trafficking rings. It’s part of a move to curb the opioid epidemic ravaging the United States.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) banned a total of 12 bitcoin and Litecoin addresses to financially squeeze the drug networks.
Treasury warns banks about crypto-drug schemes
In a statement, OFAC identified three Chinese nationals as “significant” narcotics traffickers under the Treasury’s Kingpin Act.
- Fujing Zheng.
- Guanghua Zheng.
- Xiaobing Yan.
FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco also issued an advisory to financial institutions alerting them to financial schemes related to the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
“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 they can report relevant information with law enforcement.”
Bitcoin is the reigning champ among crypto criminals
Since 2000, more than 2,200 individuals and entities had been identified pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their roles in international drug trafficking. In recent years, the U.S. government has been forced to quickly learn about cryptocurrencies as more criminals turn to them to finance their activities.