On February 10th, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation to sanction drug traffickers exporting fentanyl to the United States. The legislation, named the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, would request a US official identify drug traffickers that are exporting fentanyl illegally into the United States, deny them visas, and restrict their access to the US financial system. The bill also seeks to designate fentanyl manufacturers to punish them for permitting fentanyl to reach the United States.

It is an interesting new sanctions regulation that targets a specific form of drug importation and those who are manufacturing and exporting it to the United States. It is an interesting way to use a sanction, and many believe that there will be bipartisan support for such a measure.

Previous China Sanctions

On January 31st, casino-owner Zhao Wei, who runs casinos in Laos, was designated, as well as his wife, Su Guiqin, and his business, Kings Roman International Company Limited. This was for exporting and engaging in illicit activities with regard to human trafficking, child prostitution, drug trafficking, and wildlife trafficking.

Additionally, on April 27th, 2018 Chinese fentanyl traffickers Jian Zhang and Zaron Bio-Tech Limited, which is a Hong Kong entity owned by Jian Zhang, was designated for exporting fentanyl and fueling the opioid crisis in the United States. Na Chu, Yeyou Chu, Cuiying Liu and Keping Zhang were also designated for conducting financial transactions and arranging the shipment of fentanyl into the United States.

These designations were then pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and these individuals designated would be designated under the SDNK program.

Impact on Individuals and Businesses

It is important for individuals and businesses to take note of any dealings with people or entities that may manufacture or produce fentanyl. Anyone involved in the exportation of fentanyl into the United States and around the world may be at risk of being designated for their activity.

Once designated, their assets would be blocked, any dealing by US persons or entities would immediately have to cease, and shared properties and interests may be at risk of being put into blocked accounts. Additionally, any kind of dealing with these companies could result in criminal charges.

If you need legal advice about compliance with existing or upcoming sanctions, reach out to a knowledgeable OFAC attorney.