A top Biden administration official handling sanctions for the Department of the Treasury will be visiting the southern border this week, CNN reported Monday.
Department of Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson will visit the southern border city of Laredo, Texas, Tuesday to meet with law enforcement officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private financial institutions and local officials, according to CNN. There’s been a surge in fentanyl deaths in the U.S., with roughly 110,000 in 2022, according to preliminary Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
“What we are doing is trying to be as effective as we possibly can in combining Treasury’s tools with the efforts that other US government agencies and allied governments are deploying in this space,” Nelson, whose trip marks his second to the U.S.-Mexico border in six months, told CNN.
The Treasury Department has increased pressure through recent sanctions packages targeting Mexican-cartel linked individuals and groups, as well as Chinese individuals and entities involved in fentanyl production and trafficking operations.
Nelson is set to receive Customs and Border Protection (CBP) briefings at the port of entry, according to CNN.
“There’s a credible value in seeing that in person,” Nelson told CNN.
Nelson will also travel with acting director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which maps illicit financial networks, Himamauli Das to both Laredo and San Antonio, according to CNN. In San Antonio, Nelson and Das will host the public-private “FinCEN Exchange” to discuss ways to counter illicit financial networks.
“We can help disrupt financial flows and target the whole supply chain, starting with the precursor chemicals all the way down to distributors bound for US markets. And it’s not just sanctions,” Nelson said.
“These tools, combined with financial mapping that our FinCEN team does, is very, very powerful insight,” Nelson continued.
The Treasury Department is also “absolutely” assessing ways to build on the Biden administration’s discussions with China to involve more discussions on targeting the flows of chemicals used to make illicit fentanyl, Nelson said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently traveled to Beijing, where he said the two countries agreed to “explore” paths to work together on the issue.
However, Blinken convened a global coalition to fight illicit fentanyl trafficking that appeared to lack China’s participation.
The Treasury Department didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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