The Biden administration is working more to track cryptocurrency transactions that the Mexican drug traffickers used to buy fentanyl components from Chinese chemical firms. This action is a part of a reinvigorated campaign to combat the multibillion-dollar fentanyl trade, which claims thousands of lives each year in the United States.
Chasing Fentanyl: Cryptocurrency Trails in Drug Trade
According to statistics from crypto-tracking research company Elliptic, fentanyl traffickers are increasingly using digital assets, with payments for fentanyl components climbing 450% in the last year through April.
The federal government is attempting to catch up. High-level discussions with China and Mexico have focused on fentanyl, but a multi-agency effort is underway to adjust to the changing finance and trafficking tactics. This involves keeping an eye on forums on the Dark Web where Americans purchase fentanyl.
The digital tactics the government is using to stifle the fentanyl trade were revealed to CNN by a number of law enforcement officials.
To track down cartel money launderers, the DEA is investing in crypto-tracing technologies. To track payments on Dark Web forums, the IRS is using its tech-savvy agents. Digital hints from stash homes close to the Mexican border are being examined by a team under the direction of DHS’ investigations branch.
US authorities claim that DHS has lately increased its monitoring activities in particular.
Despite the sizeable seizures, authorities warn that there is still more to be done, and the results of their efforts may not be seen for some months.
The administration is able to learn more about the contribution of Chinese chemical firms to the manufacture of fentanyl by taking advantage of cryptocurrency’s openness. After the Chinese prohibition in 2019, fentanyl shipments to the US have decreased, but Chinese companies still create and export a large amount of fentanyl components.
The government wants to stop the money flows that are fueling the fentanyl trade by using penalties, federal prosecutions against Chinese corporations involved in fentanyl manufacture, and tracking cryptocurrency payments.