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Sanctioning of Mexican Sinaloa Cartel Members and Firms for Fentanyl Trafficking by the U.S.

The Biden administration has imposed sanctions on 13 members of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and four firms based in Sonora, Mexico, for their involvement in trafficking fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.

This action is part of a series of measures taken this year against Sinaloa cartel members, cash couriers, and cartel fraud schemes.

The individuals targeted in the sanctions include a cartel operations manager in Nogales, who oversaw the trafficking of large quantities of drugs, along with his family members and associates. The sanctions also extend to a restaurant, stone and mining companies, and an import-export firm.

These sanctions will cut off their access to the U.S. banking system, prohibit them from working with Americans, and freeze their U.S. assets.

Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, stated that the U.S. will aggressively pursue those involved in these illicit fentanyl networks. The Treasury will use its authorities to expose and isolate those profiting from fentanyl sales in the United States.

Fentanyl is currently the deadliest drug in the U.S., with drug overdose deaths linked to it increasing more than sevenfold since 2015. Over 100,000 deaths per year have been attributed to drug overdoses since 2020, with approximately two-thirds of these cases involving fentanyl.

Mexico and China are the primary sources of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration has identified China as the main supplier of precursor chemicals used in fentanyl production. In October, the Biden administration announced indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives responsible for importing these chemicals.

Republicans have criticized the Democratic administration for not doing enough to combat the fentanyl crisis, and this issue is expected to be a prominent topic in the upcoming presidential campaign.

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