The U.S. Department of the Treasury (DoT) continues to go after cryptocurrency holders it feels are not playing by the rules. Using the government’s Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, it has included a slew of Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) crypto wallet addresses to the act’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, a database of individuals that the department believes are involved in illegal narcotics operations.
The DoT updated its list yesterday to include the most recent names. The addresses reportedly belong to three Chinese nationals, Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng and Guanghua Zheng, with all three being linked to certain BTC wallets and the latter additionally found to hold LTC assets, as well.
The Kingpin Act was created by the U.S. in 1999. It gives the government authorization to ban trading and monetary transactions involving suspected narcotics traffickers and any U.S.-related entity, and often calls upon different government departments to investigate the individuals. The President of the U.S. makes the ultimate decision whether or not to include the names.
The DoT points to the three (in pdf) Chinese nationals as being heavily involved in the synthetic opioid crisis, which has led to tens of thousands of overdose deaths around the world. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 47,600 people in the U.S. alone died from opioid overdoses in 2017.
In addition, the department added to the SDN list “Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co., Ltd, (Shanghai Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Science & Technology Co., Ltd.; A.K.A. Shanghai Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Science And Technology Co., Ltd.; A.K.A. Shanghai Qinsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Co., Ltd.)” and “Zheng Drug Trafficking Organization.” The latter apparently had no qualms about stating what its operations were and can be found at www.globalrc.net, www.goldenrc.com and www.toplabrc.com.
Xiabing Yan was indicated in Mississippi on drug trafficking charges in 2017. Fujing Zheng was indicted in Ohio on similar charges last year. It isn’t clear where the individuals currently stand in response to the charges or possible sentences.
Looking up the crypto addresses doesn’t show anything very revealing. Between the handful of addresses that have been listed on the SDN, they only hold less than $30,000 in combined assets, with several not seeing any recent transactions. Certainly not what one would expect if crypto was a haven for illegal drug activity.
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