US levies fentanyl-related sanctions on Sinaloa members, Mexico-based entities

LEGO and fentanyl pills found by officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on 15 Sinaloa Cartel members and six Mexico-based entities involved in the illicit manufacture and trafficking of fentanyl and other deadly drugs, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo announced.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT

Mexico is a major trafficking hub for the highly potent synthetic opioid.

Almost 80,000 Americans died from opioid-related overdoses in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

KEY QUOTES

"A top priority ... (is) to stop illicit fentanyl from entering the United States and disrupt the cartels that peddle this deadly drug," Adeyemo said in remarks prepared for delivery at a press conference in Phoenix.

"More than five people in Arizona die each day from opioid overdoses," Adeyemo said. "In Maricopa County, the majority of all drug-related deaths now involve fentanyl. Since 2015, fentanyl deaths have increased by almost 5,000 percent since. What makes these tragedies all the more heartbreaking — and infuriating — is knowing that criminals trafficking these drugs pursue profits with a callous disregard for American lives."

CONTEXT

The announcement is part of the Treasury Department’s Counter Fentanyl Strike Force and the Biden administration's plan to fight the illicit fentanyl trade.

(Reporting by Paul Grant, editing by David Ljunggren)