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Crypto Used in Mexican Drug Trafficking

Crypto used by Mexican drug cartels is becoming a major concern. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently highlighted this trend.

According to a Thursday advisory, criminal organizations in Mexico are using digital assets to buy raw materials for producing fentanyl.

Use of Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

FinCEN’s advisory reveals that cartels are increasingly purchasing fentanyl precursor chemicals and manufacturing equipment from China-based suppliers. They are paying for these supplies with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Monero (XMR), and Tether (USDT). These payments often end up in the Chinese suppliers’ hosted wallets at crypto firms, sometimes through a secondary money transmitter.

Updated Advisory Reflects Ongoing Issues

The new warnings update a FinCEN advisory from 2019, reflecting ongoing problems that have surfaced in sanctions and criminal cases. In October, the U.S. Department of Justice charged eight China-linked companies with illegal drug production, distribution, and sales of precursor chemicals.

Fentanyl Crisis in the U.S.

Fentanyl overdoses have become the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. The chemicals used to manufacture this dangerous drug often originate in China and cross multiple borders before reaching U.S. users. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notes that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine, making it a significant public health threat.

Implications for Financial Firms

FinCEN’s updated advisory aims to alert U.S. financial firms about the network of criminal organizations producing fentanyl. Financial institutions are urged to remain vigilant and report suspicious activities involving cryptocurrencies and cross-border transactions related to the drug trade. This effort is part of a broader strategy to combat the growing fentanyl crisis and disrupt the financial networks of drug cartels.

By staying informed and proactive, financial institutions can play a crucial role in curbing the flow of illicit funds and combating the deadly impact of fentanyl on American communities.

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Disclaimer: Not Investment Advice

it’s crucial to understand that the information provided here is not to be construed as investment advice. The crypto market is dynamic and highly speculative, and decisions should be made based on thorough personal research and consideration of individual risk tolerance. Always consult with financial professionals and conduct your own due diligence before making any investment decisions. The intention of this exploration is to present insights and trends, not to provide specific investment recommendations.

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