The US Department of Treasury has imposed sanctions on several cryptocurrency wallets associated with Chinese chemical companies and individuals involved in the illegal production and trafficking of fentanyl. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo revealed that these wallets received millions of USD funds through numerous deposits and that over a dozen virtual currency wallets associated with these actors have been identified and blocked.
- Blocked Wallets and Sanctions: The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added 19 crypto wallet addresses to the specially designed nationals (SDN) list. These wallets were linked to China-based chemical companies engaged in illegal activities. Cryptocurrencies involved include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), and Tron (TRX).
- Amount of Funds and Warning: The blocked wallets received significant amounts, and the Treasury warns that if anyone benefits from the proceeds of illicit activities, their assets will be targeted. The action aims to disrupt the flow of funds associated with illegal drug production and trafficking.
- DOJ Indictments: Simultaneously, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed eight indictments against Chinese chemical companies and employees involved in the production and distribution of drugs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine. Cryptocurrency transactions were used to conceal identities and financial movements.
- Individuals Implicated: Specific individuals, such as Qingsong Li and Chunhui Chen, allegedly maintained cryptocurrency wallets for remittance payments related to precursor chemicals. Another individual, Wei Zhang, operated a cryptocurrency wallet accepting payments for a company involved in drug sales.
- DOJ’s Investigative Efforts: The DOJ’s investigation involved dozens of agents, analysts, and prosecutors who combined traditional techniques with modern tools like cryptocurrency tracing. Agents from the FBI and IRS utilized blockchain analysis to trace crypto transactions.
This coordinated effort by the US government demonstrates its commitment to combatting illegal activities facilitated by cryptocurrencies. The sanctions and indictments target individuals and entities involved in the concealment and transfer of funds associated with the illegal drug trade.