US Treasury Blacklisted Cryptocurrency Addresses of Chinese Drug Dealers
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department has taken sanctions against three Chinese citizens and cryptocurrency addresses they control in connection with allegations of violating laws on money laundering and drug smuggling.
Xiaobing Yang, Fujing Zheng, and Guanghua Zheng were deemed smugglers under the Foreign Drug Traffickers Act, which resulted in the freezing of their US assets. According to OFAC, the three were marketing “synthetic opioids or chemicals used to make them.”.
The unwanted assets also included multiple Bitcoin addresses and one Litecoin address, which, according to OFAC, are controlled by the defendants..
“Chinese criminals ran an international drug smuggling scheme that produced and sold deadly drugs, contributing directly to the crisis of drug addiction, overdoses and deaths in the United States,” the decision reads. “Zheng and Yang have handed over hundreds of synthetic drug shipments to the United States, promoting their services online and using commercial mail carriers to distribute their drugs in the United States.”.
This is the second time that cryptocurrency addresses have been added to the OFAC blacklist. In November 2018, the addresses of two Iranian citizens were also included in the list with information on persons of special categories. Then the Deputy Minister of Finance for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said that the department “publishes wallet addresses to identify criminals operating in the digital currency space.”.
Also included in the list were Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co. Ltd. and “Zheng’s drug smuggling organization”.
Violators of the Foreign Drug Trafficking Act face a $ 1.1 million civil fine for each confirmed episode and a $ 5 million fine and up to 30 years in prison under criminal law.