© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Plastic bags of Fentanyl are displayed on a table at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Lott
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to expand efforts to disrupt illicit financial activities by drug traffickers involved in the fentanyl trade by increasing the use of sanctions, the White House said on Tuesday.
A White House fact sheet outlining its plans for a crackdown on fentanyl supply chains said President Joe Biden’s administration will increase sanctions and other measures against key targets to obstruct drug traffickers’ access to the U.S. financial system and illicit financial flows.
“We will also strengthen collaboration with international partners on illicit finance and anti-money laundering efforts related to drug trafficking,” the White House said.
It said the United States is building a global coalition to accelerate efforts against illicit synthetic drugs. The statement did not provide details about the sanctions or other measures.
The development comes as members of Mexico’s security cabinet will be in the United States this week to meet with U.S. officials about the trafficking of synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Some U.S. lawmakers have been calling on the Biden administration to take a harder line and ratchet up pressure on Mexico to crack down on fentanyl trafficking. A handful of Republican legislators have even called for the U.S. military to bomb Mexican cartels and their labs inside Mexico.
Overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, killed more than 70,000 people in the U.S. in 2021, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.