WASHINGTON, DC – The bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combatting the fentanyl crisis by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that traffic the drugs in from Mexico, became law this week. 

The bill, which was first introduced one year ago by U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) was signed into law by President Biden.

Specifically, the new law will enable the Biden Administration to impose substantial sanctions on foreigners trafficking fentanyl and other illicit opioids in the U.S.  The bill provides property-blocking sanctions to punish foreign individuals who are knowingly involved in trafficking fentanyl, fentanyl precursors, or other related opioids by a transnational criminal organization, as well as individuals who are seriously involved in such a criminal organization.

These new powers will allow the Administration to target Chinese traffickers who produce the majority of illicit fentanyl and the precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl.  By directing the U.S. Treasury Department to target, sanction, and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act aims to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into our country by choking off the income source of those who traffic in synthetic opioids.

“Illicit fentanyl is poisoning people with tainted pills and counterfeit drugs.  The bipartisan FEND OFF Fentanyl Act offers a targeted strategy and effective tools to go after the illicit drug producers, their supply chains, and the money laundering that makes profiting off of drug trafficking possible.  It will hit the cartels where it hurts them most: in their wallets.  The FEND Off Fentanyl Act will help prevent these traffickers from hiding, laundering, and using their ill-gotten gains to flood our communities with deadly drugs,” said Senator Reed.  “I commend Senator Brown, Senator Scott, and Senator Wicker for their partnership, perseverance, and hard work to see this legislation become law.”

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act:

  • Declares that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency.
  • Requires the President to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  • Enables the President to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  • Enhances the ability to enforce sanctions violations thereby making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  • Requires the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
  • Allows the U.S. Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  • Requires the U.S. Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.