The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned an Ethereum wallet used by the Sinaloa Cartel to launder money from fentanyl sales in the U.S. Mario Alberto Jimenez Castro, an accused money launderer for the cartel’s Los Chapitos faction, allegedly directed the use of cryptocurrency and wire transfers to pay cartel leaders in Mexico, according to OFAC.
U.S. Treasury Targets Sinaloa Cartel Member’s Ether Wallet in Crackdown on Fentanyl Distribution
OFAC said Tuesday it sanctioned ten individuals, including several Sinaloa Cartel affiliates and fugitives, for contributing to the international proliferation of illicit drugs. In addition to sanctioning people, OFAC designated the Ethereum wallet with the address “0x9c2” used by Jimenez Castro.
“Jimenez Castro has directed U.S.-based couriers to pick up cash in the United States and deposit it into various virtual currency wallets for payment directly to the Chapitos and for reinvestment in fentanyl production,” OFAC said.
The Sinaloa Cartel is considered one of the most powerful drug trafficking groups in Mexico and is a major supplier of fentanyl in the U.S. OFAC said the sanctions target members of Los Chapitos, a faction run by the sons of imprisoned Sinaloa leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
OFAC said the sanctions demonstrate “the [Biden] Administration’s strengthened approach to saving lives by disrupting the trafficking of illicit fentanyl and its precursors into American communities.”
The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets held by the Ethereum wallet and prohibit Americans from conducting transactions with the wallet. OFAC said it will continue targeting foreign drug traffickers contributing to the opioid epidemic through sanctions.
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