The U.S. Treasury is looking at numerous cryptocurrency addresses and people associated with them as part of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, also known as the Kingpin Act, Cryptovest reported on Thursday (Aug. 22).
Any addresses deemed to be associated with foreign narcotics operators are added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).
The Kingpin Act exists to ban trading and transactions between narcotics traffickers and U.S entities. Under the act, government branches coordinate to investigate foreign narcotics traffickers added to a list.
After the Treasury updated its SDN list on Aug. 21, it was discovered that three alleged narcotic operators associated with the SDN addresses were Chinese citizens: Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng, according to the article. They all have Bitcoin (BTC) addresses mentioned on the SDN list, and Guanghua Zheng additionally had a Litecoin (LTC) address.
“The Chinese kingpins that OFAC designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses and death in the United States. Zheng and Yan have shipped hundreds of packages of synthetic opioids to the U.S., targeting customers through online advertising and sales and using commercial mail carriers to smuggle their drugs into the United States,” said Sigal Mandelker, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
The drug traffickers face sanctions after coordinated actions from OFAC, FinCen and U.S. law enforcement agencies.
“OFAC and FinCEN’s coordinated action with U.S. law enforcement leverages Treasury’s authorities to confront the deadly synthetic opioid crisis plaguing America,” Mandelker said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that his department will use “very, very strong” regulations to ensure that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t become “the equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts.”
It’s imperative that cryptocurrencies don’t become cloaked in secrecy, Mnuchin said, referring to the history of certain Swiss banks giving customers a cloak of privacy to avoid taxation.