On May 30, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions, pursuant to Executive Order 14059, against 17 individuals and entities for their involvement in the rapid increase of equipment used to make illicit drugs. OFAC detailed the impact of the drugs the equipment produces and explained that the counterfeit pills are often laced with fentanyl and ultimately end up in U.S. markets. Targeting every stage of the pill production process, OFAC designated seven entities and six individuals based in China and three individuals based in Mexico for perpetuating the trafficking of illicit drugs through the sale, manufacturing, and/or shipment of pill press equipment.
As a result of these sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” U.S. persons are also generally prohibited from engaging in any dealings involving the property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons unless authorized by a general or specific license or exempt. Further, financial institutions and persons that engage in certain transactions with the designated persons may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to enforcement.