Yellen Off To Mexico Following Fentanyl Strike Force Launch

The Department of the Treasury has created a new strike force aimed at combating the trafficking of illicit fentanyl, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is going to Mexico to promote it.

Announced on Monday, the Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force will combine Treasury Department intelligence personnel to come up with better ways to stop how illegal drugs flow into the U.S.

All of this is part of a bigger effort that the U.S. has undertaken recently to prevent how the powerful opioid, as well as materials that are used to make the drugs, make their way into the U.S.

While she’s in Mexico, Yellen plans to talk with leaders of the Mexican government as well as the private sector about how to stop the illicit finance that ultimately powers the drug trade — with a major focus being on the deadly drug fentanyl.

The Biden administration created the Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force as one of the first steps to its ramped-up efforts to clamp down on illegal fentanyl. President Joe Biden discussed the issue with China’s President Xi Jinping when the two met in November.

At that meeting, the world leaders revealed that China would be telling chemical companies in its country to stop shipping materials that are used in the production of fentanyl to Latin American countries.

In addition, China announced that it would be sharing information again regarding suspected trafficking to an international database.

The two major countries where fentanyl that makes its way to the U.S. originates are China and Mexico, the Drug Enforcement Administration told The Associated Press. Just about every precursor chemical that’s necessary for fentanyl’s production comes directly from China.

The Treasury’s new task force is responsible for analyzing the finances of trafficking organizations, with a particular focus on those that use cryptocurrency. The task force will use records from financial institutions to also identify any transactions that might be related to the smuggling of drugs or humans.

It will also work hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies in areas that have been affected the most by the fentanyl epidemic.