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The Treasury Department blacklisted crypto addresses of three Chinese drug lords that were running an international smuggling scheme between China and the US. This is part of efforts to deal with the opioid epidemic affecting the US. The Office of Foreign Assets Control that is under the Treasury Department carried out this action. It banned 12 crypto addresses in an effort to starve these drug organizations of funding. 

Treasury Wants Financial Firms to be Wary of Illegal Drug Trade

In an announcement by the Treasury Department, it was claimed that the three Chinese drug lords had broken the department’s Kingpin Act. The three are Guanghua Zheng, Fujing Zheng, and Xiaobing Yan. Another US official issued an advisory to financial firms warning them that drug smugglers were using their system to traffic opioids. He said that criminals would use the financial sector in the US to launder funds they received form criminal activity. He added that financial firms must watch out for red flags, which might be a sign that complex money laundering schemes were being run through their systems. 

Bitcoin is a Favorite Amongst Criminals

Since 2000, over 2,200 people and entities have been pursued under the Kingpin Act for being part of drug trafficking operations. In the recent past, US officials have come to understand crypto coins better as criminals turn to them to finance their illegal activities. 

One of the most popular crypto coins for criminals is Bitcoin, which is involved in about 95% of all crypto crimes. Additionally, most of the drug bursts that involved fentanyl, a powerful opioid, were uncovered by analyzing Bitcoin’s blockchain. This is because most buyers were paying for purchases via the Bitcoin.  Forensic analysis of blockchains has emerged as a powerful tool for law enforcement authorities in recent years. The DEA and Homeland Security have stepped up their efforts in this sector to catch up with criminals. 

The analysis revealed that various crypto transactions could be tied to pharmacies in China or other services being used to sell fentanyl. Jonathan Levin, who is the co-founder of blockchain analysis firm Chainlysis, made this revelation. He added that the DEA and Homeland security had actually got quite good at catching criminals via blockchain analysis. 

Drug Dealer Convicted for Laundering Money Using Crypto

In April 2019, the District Attorney’s Office of Manhattan indicted three people for laundering over $3 million worth of BTC using debit cards pre-loaded with the crypto coin. The three were also charged with running fake storefronts via the Dark Web where they would sell illegal drugs, which included fake Xanex tablets. 

Craig Wright Claims Only Criminals Use BTC

According to the self-proclaimed investor of BTC, only criminals use the crypto coin. He added that the coin had veered off its original purpose and there was no way to recover from that. Due to this major perversion of BTC, he predicted that Bitcoin might not be around for much longer. The reason for this, according to him, was that criminal enterprises always collapse. 

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