White House strengthens sanctions aimed at disrupting drug traffickers

WASHINGTON – After several GOP lawmakers accused the White House of not doing enough to combat Mexican drug cartels, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a series of measures to prevent the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.

On Tuesday the White House said it will ramp up sanctions targeting drug traffickers, along with methods to prevent the sale and manufacture of fentanyl.

In a fact sheet outlining the administration’s efforts, the White House said, “Drug traffickers, who are primarily driven by profits, require significant funds to operate their illicit supply chains. The Biden-Harris Administration will expand its efforts to disrupt the illicit financial activities that fund these criminals by increasing accountability measures, including financial sanctions, on key targets to obstruct drug traffickers’ access to the U.S. financial system and illicit financial flows.”

The White House says it will also collaborate with international partners to prevent drug traffickers from getting financial help.

“Illicit drug traffickers often use legitimate commercial enterprises to access significant capital resources, collaborate with raw material suppliers across international borders, use technology to fund and conduct business, and innovate production and distribution strategies to expand their markets,” the fact sheet said.

The plan also includes improved tracking of equipment used to transform powder fentanyl into pills and aims to increase cash seizures at the southwest border. Furthermore, it seeks to enhance Federal law enforcement coordination to track and target the origins of shipments containing the ingredients and equipment used to produce illicit fentanyl.

The announcement comes as Mexico’s president and his security cabinet prepare to meet with U.S. officials to discuss fentanyl trafficking.

In 2021, synthetic opioid overdoses, including fentanyl, claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.