FinCEN participated in a trilateral workshop as part of the North America Drug Dialogue (NADD) to address money laundering activities associated with fentanyl and other drug trafficking. The workshop was hosted by Mexico’s Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (UIF) and was joined by Canada’s Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC). The workshop was held in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 24 and 25, 2023.
The U.S., Canadian, and Mexican financial intelligence units (FIUs) charged with combating money laundering and illicit finance reviewed the current opioid threat, including fentanyl, and associated illicit finance typologies that impact North America; highlighted their respective authorities and current projects to combat money laundering linked to drug trafficking; and considered public-private efforts to identify and combat the misuse of the financial sector by trafficking organizations. Disrupting the flow of funds related to fentanyl and precursor trafficking is a priority for the United States as the scourge of the fentanyl and synthetic opioid epidemic grows within our communities.
The FIUs of U.S., Canada, and Mexico also established a new, and ongoing, NADD Illicit Finance Working Group that is designed to further each country’s domestic and international counter-narcotics efforts and cooperation. Among other things, the NADD Illicit Finance Working Group will collectively focus on sharing money laundering indicators, investigations that support NADD priorities, and analytical best practices.
FinCEN long prioritized efforts to combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime (TOC). These criminal activities were highlighted as a U.S. national AML/CFT priority in the 2021 Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism Priorities. In 2019, FinCEN published an Advisory to Financial Institutions on Illicit Financial Schemes and Methods Related to the Trafficking of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids as part of a coordinated set of U.S. government advisories that addressed the manufacturing, marketing, movement, and monetary aspects of the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
Treasury and FinCEN are key participants in the President’s National Drug Control Strategy. The President’s strategy identifies countering illicit finance as a critical pillar to degrade and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that traffic illicit drugs. FinCEN supports these efforts in several important ways, including providing extensive analytic support and information-sharing to law enforcement agencies, hosting law enforcement liaisons at its facilities, and detailing or embedding its own personnel in key partner agencies and task forces
FinCEN also provides analytic support and shares information with internal Treasury partners, such as the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This collaboration has supported various sanctions actions against narcotics traffickers and their enablers, including the recent designations of China and Mexico based enablers of counterfeit, fentanyl-lace pill production.