December 16, 2021

Whitehouse Applauds Biden Orders Tackling Transnational Organized Crime, Narcotics Trafficking, and Illicit Finance

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, applauded the Biden Administration’s new executive orders strengthening U.S. efforts to attack transnational organized crime, narcotics traffickers, and those who facilitate related criminal actions, including corruption and money laundering. Whitehouse has urged the administration to integrate strategies to counter money laundering and corruption into America’s efforts to counter global drug trafficking networks, and led a recent hearing of the Drug Caucus on the nexus between drug trafficking and corruption.

“Drug traffickers exploit weakness in our laws and financial system to run multi-billion dollar criminal enterprises masked behind complicated layers of shell corporations and other financial tricks. Those drug trafficking operations have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives, and immeasurable pain in Rhode Island and across the nation,” said Whitehouse. “These orders recognize that we need all hands on deck to counter the sophisticated international drug trafficking organizations we face. Efforts like this are crucial to the United States maintaining its place of leadership on the world stage and to gaining the upper hand in our clash of civilizations against kleptocrats and criminals.”

The order establishing the United States Council on Transnational Organized Crime establishes a mechanism to coordinate government-wide efforts to combat transnational organized crime (TOC) and directs U.S. government agencies to:

  • Utilize authorized intelligence and operational capabilities to target, disrupt, and degrade criminal organizations that pose the greatest threats to U.S. national security;
  • Foster and enhance collaboration with private entities and international organizations to combat transnational organized crime;
  • Improve information sharing between law enforcement and the Intelligence Community;
  • Expand efforts to attack illicit finance related to TOC groups and DTOs; and
  • Utilize new and existing technologies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle emerging threats.

The order imposing sanctions on foreign persons involved in the global illicit drug trade authorizes new tools to target foreign persons involved in the illicit narcotics trade while simultaneously protecting the U.S. financial system from criminal actors. Specifically, the Order authorizes the Treasury Secretary to impose sanctions against any foreign person who:

  • Engages in the illicit narcotics trade, regardless of whether they are associated with drug kingpins or cartels; or
  • Knowingly receives property associated with illicit drug trafficking.

This Executive Order builds on sanctions established by the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and the Fentanyl Sanctions Act. As a result of the Order, Treasury designated eight new individuals and entities and designated an additional 17 individuals and entities previously sanctioned under other authorities, as Foreign Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade.

The Administration’s Fact Sheet on both Executive Orders can be found here.

The State Department’s statement on the Executive Orders can be found here.

The Treasury Department’s statement on the Executive Orders can be found here.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s statement on the Executive Orders can be found here.

Rich Davidson (202) 228-6291 (press office)

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921