The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took strong action against five people. These people were allegedly involved in supplying ingredients used by drug cartels to produce opioids. According to OFAC’s notice, one of the defendants also allegedly made payments through a cryptocurrency wallet.
The crimes with which the various defendants are charged
OFAC said in a statement Friday that it sanctioned five individuals as well as two companies based in China, all linked to the Sinaloa cartel. Among them are Yao Huatao, Wu Yaqin, Wu Yonghao, Wang Hongfei and Ana Gabriela Rubio Zea. The Chinese entities in question are Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co and Suzhuo Xiaoli Pharmatech Co.
According to an OFAC press release, the accused persons allegedly supplied chemical precursors to drug cartels in Mexico. The products would be used to produce illicit fentanyl for US markets. Everyone’s participation in the traffic is specified by OFAC.
It is alleged that Yao Huatao, a Chinese citizen and owner of Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co. Ltd, oversight of the sale of fentanyl precursors. Wu Yaqin and Wu Yonghao allegedly acted as sales representatives for the illegal activities. Ana Gabriela Rubio Zea, a Guatemalan broker, allegedly bought the precursors to the cartels. OFAC also charges Suzhuo Xiaoli Pharmatech Co. Ltd for sending the precursors to Mexico.
Also read: The US government has started selling bitcoins (BTC) from Silk Road!
Use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities
It is clear that a division of the US Treasury Department made many other allegations against these people. Among these, there is one that is really embarrassing for the cryptocurrency industry. In fact, according to OFAC, Wang Hongfei, the fifth person cited had a bitcoin wallet. He used it to receive payments in bitcoins on behalf of the Chinese company. This information damages the image of crypto assets among the general public.
In fact, digital assets have often been associated with criminal activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and illegal online activities. Although the vast majority of cryptocurrency transactions are legitimate, certain associations have contributed to the bad reputation of these assets.
That said, governments and authorities in various countries are already taking steps to reduce the use of crypto-currencies for illicit purposes. Regulatory frameworks will be expected to be implemented quickly to avoid any kind of excesses aimed at jeopardizing the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.