In Boston, Treasury Launches New Public-Private FinCEN Exchange Series to Fight Fentanyl Trafficking

Immediate Release
PROTECT FinCEN Exchange sessions set to promote public-private collaboration against illicit financial activity tied to the opioid trade

BOSTON—Today, as part of the Treasury Department’s Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in partnership with IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), announced a new initiative to combat the illicit trafficking of fentanyl into the United States. The “Promoting Regional Outreach to Educate Communities on the Threat of Fentanyl” (or PROTECT) series of FinCEN Exchange sessions will be held through the remainder of 2024 in U.S. cities that are highly impacted by the opioid epidemic. The series is specifically designed to work with regional and local banks who are deeply connected to their communities and offer unique perspectives on the opioid crisis, and will focus on how law enforcement can best support their efforts to monitor activity that may be tied to the illicit trafficking of fentanyl. At these exchanges, federal officials brief on information critical to tracking these illicit financial flows, including typologies and red-flag indicators of fentanyl-related activity, and discuss what types of information are particularly valuable when financial institutions report suspicious activity.

The PROTECT series is being launched in collaboration with other government partners, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, various U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and local law enforcement agencies.

“Treasury’s Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force continues to go after the millions of dollars that drug trafficking networks earn off their illegal activity, which claims the lives of far too many Americans each year – including thousands in Massachusetts,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “We are committed to working at both the federal and local levels to marshal all of our collective resources towards cutting off the financial flows powering this deadly trade.”

“The PROTECT series will enhance FinCEN’s collaboration with our law enforcement and financial institution partners to combat the scourge that is our nation’s opioid crisis,” said FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki. “We are excited to begin this new chapter of public-private information sharing to help identify related illicit activity and enable the further disruption of fentanyl trafficking.”

“Last year, IRS Criminal Investigation and the Department of the Treasury launched the Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force to combat fentanyl trafficking, and this series builds on that cooperation by incorporating the financial industry into the fight,” said CI Chief Guy Ficco. “We are excited to build on what took place in Boston today and equip communities across the nation with the tools they need to identify suspicious financial transactions indicative of drug trafficking.”

Today’s event in Boston brought federal agencies and law enforcement authorities from the Boston area together with representatives from the financial industry for a discussion on ways to deepen collaboration and enhance the value of suspicious activity reporting to counter illicit fentanyl trafficking. FinCEN and law enforcement representatives highlighted the significant value that Suspicious Activity Reports contribute to law enforcement efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking, and financial institutions shared their observations on money laundering flows and tactics used by narcotraffickers and their enablers.

Launched in December 2023, Treasury’s Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force is bringing together personnel, expertise, intelligence, and resources across key Treasury offices to combat illicit fentanyl trafficking. FinCEN continues to call on financial institutions to monitor for and report suspicious activity related to the trafficking of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and other synthetic opioids, including on the basis of its 2019 advisory on the subject.


FinCEN Exchange is a voluntary public-private partnership that convenes relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and financial institutions. FinCEN Exchange aims to protect our national security and our citizens from harm by combatting money laundering and its related crimes, including terrorism, through public-private dialogue that encourages, enables, and acknowledges industry focus on high-value and high-impact activities. FinCEN Exchange began in 2017 and was codified as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.

IRS Criminal Investigation is the law enforcement arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a nearly 90% federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.