US Imposes Sanctions on Sinaloa Cartel Members and Firms for Fentanyl Trafficking from Mexico

The Biden administration announced sanctions on 13 members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel and four Sonora, Mexico-based firms accused of trafficking fentanyl and other drugs into the United States.

This latest action follows a series of measures taken this year against members of the Sinaloa cartel, cash couriers, and cartel fraud schemes.

The sanctions include a manager of cartel operations in Nogales who oversaw the trafficking of multi-ton quantities of drugs, as well as members of his family and his associates. Also, a restaurant, stone and mining companies, and an import-export firm are among those sanctioned.

These sanctions effectively cut off the individuals and entities from the U.S. banking system, halt their ability to work with Americans, and block their U.S. assets.

Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, emphasized the U.S. government’s commitment to aggressively pursuing all those involved in illicit fentanyl networks. He added that the Treasury will continue to utilize its authorities to expose and isolate those profiting from deadly fentanyl sales in the United States.

Fentanyl, a powerful opioid, is currently the deadliest drug in the U.S. today, with drug overdose deaths increasing more than sevenfold from 2015 to 2021. Over 100,000 deaths a year are linked to drug overdoses, with approximately two-thirds related to fentanyl.

The primary sources for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the U.S. are Mexico and China, as reported by the Drug Enforcement Administration. China is the primary source of nearly all the precursor chemicals needed to make fentanyl, with companies frequently using fake return addresses and mislabeling products to elude law enforcement.

In October, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a sweeping series of indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives blamed for importing the chemicals used to make the deadly drug. However, Republicans argue that the Democratic administration isn’t doing enough to stop fentanyl, and this issue is likely to feature prominently in next year’s presidential campaign.


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