To tackle the influx of fentanyl into the United States, the Biden administration has established a strike force to counter-fentanyl which will work within the Treasury Department. Headed by the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence along with the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service, this newly formed team is committed to thoroughly investigating the financial activities of suspected narcotics dealers and disrupting money laundering linked to fentanyl trafficking.
In a concerted effort to staunchly address sanctions violations and disrupt the trafficking of fentanyl through both the northern and southern borders, representatives from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within the Treasury Department will cooperate with their counterparts in Mexico and Canada. The Treasury Department has assumed a pivotal role in the administration’s endeavors to combat the influx of illegal drugs by leveraging its capacity to monitor the financial transactions that support traffickers.
Over the preceding two years, the Treasury has enforced sanctions on around 250 individuals and organizations engaged in drug-trafficking activities. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has endorsed the recently established Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force, emphasizing that it will harness the department’s proficiency in combating financial crime related to this lethal epidemic. Secretary Yellen is set to actively participate in these efforts during her upcoming visit to Mexico, where she plans to engage in discussions with senior officials and convene meetings with Mexican banking executives to promote initiatives aimed at curtailing illicit finance associated with fentanyl.
This intensified focus on fentanyl by the Treasury Department follows an agreement between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to collaborate in countering the narcotics trade. China, which supplies the majority of the materials used in illegal drug labs, including those in Mexico, has taken steps to curb the shipment of chemicals used in fentanyl production.
The Treasury Department has also been increasing its efforts to target Mexican cartels involved in fentanyl trafficking. In coordination with Mexico’s government, the United States recently imposed sanctions on 13 Mexican companies and three individuals associated with the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion.
By fostering better coordination among experts within the U.S. government, the new counter-fentanyl strike force aims to enhance the monitoring of groups like C.J.N.G. This team, consisting of top specialists from across the department, will act swiftly and decisively to respond to emerging threats.
During Secretary Yellen’s trip to Mexico, economic ties between the two countries will also be a focus. Mexico has become the largest U.S. trade partner for goods this year, and the Biden administration views Mexico as crucial for its “friend shoring” policy. Discussions will revolve around incorporating Mexico into the clean energy supply chain that the United States seeks to develop.