The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the US Treasury Department, cracked down on five individuals living in the People’s Republic of China and Guatemala. On Friday, OFAC Sanctions announced Against the five, along with two companies based in the People’s Republic of China. All have allegedly played roles in supplying ingredients used to make opiates to drug cartels. Moreover, one of the accused allegedly processed the payments through a crypto wallet.
Named in the OFAC classification are Yao Huatao, Wu Yaqin, Wu Yonghao, Wang Hongfei, and Ana Gabriela Rubio Zea. Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co., Ltd. was also listed. and Suzhuo Xiaoli Pharmatech Co., Ltd.
The OFAC announcement alleges that Yao Huatao, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, who owns Wuhan Shoukang Biotechnology Co., Ltd., oversaw the sale of fentanyl precursors. It alleges that Wu Yin and Wu Yonghao acted as sales representatives for illegal operations. OFAC claims that Ana Gabriela Rubio Zea, a brokerage based in Guatemala, purchased the precursors for the Sinaloa cartels in Mexico. OFAC also accuses Suzhuo Xiaoli Pharmatech Co. Ltd. shipped the precursors to Mexico.
One of the allegations here is embarrassing for the cryptocurrency industry, which is seeking broader acceptance. OFAC claims that a fifth person named Wang Hongfei owns a cryptocurrency wallet. He allegedly used it to receive bitcoin payments on behalf of a company based in the People’s Republic of China.
It is not difficult to create cryptocurrency wallets. Oftentimes, criminals misuse it to send and receive payments anonymously.
OFAC accuses the five individuals and two entities of providing the cartels with precursor chemicals for the production of fentanyl. PRC companies are a major source of precursors for fentanyl. The criminals then smuggle the drugs across the US-Mexico border and then sell them on the American streets.
Amid the opioid epidemic, stemming the flow of prodrugs into Mexico has been a priority for US law enforcement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control Numbers67 percent, or 71,941 of the 107,375 overdose deaths in the United States in the 12-month period through January 2022, involved fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
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