As part of the efforts to combat drug trafficking, OFAC and FinCEN announced sanctions against three Chinese nationals accused of producing and distributing illegal drugs and laundering their money by using cryptocurrencies.
"The Chinese kingpins that OFAC designated today run an international drug trafficking operation that manufactures and sells lethal narcotics, directly contributing to the crisis of opioid addiction, overdoses, and death in the United States ... OFAC and FinCEN's coordinated action with U.S. law enforcement leverages Treasury's authorities to confront the deadly synthetic opioid crisis plaguing America.
Security forces said that after identifying Xiaobing Yan, Fujing Zheng, and Guanghua Zheng as responsible for shipping illegal substances; they proceeded to seize their assets, including bank accounts, property, and even crypto wallet addresses.
Both Zheng and Yan are known to use digital currency (bitcoin), and OFAC is also identifying bitcoin addresses associated with these two drug traffickers to maximize disruption of their financial dealings ...
As a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of these individuals and entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC
Official Reports Reveal Criminals Still Prefer a Nice Leather Wallet With American Dollars Instead of a Crypto Wallet Address (800x More)
The U.S. government has been emphatic in pointing out its concerns about the possibility that cryptocurrencies may be used for illegal operations or for foreign governments to evade their unilaterally imposed sanctions.
However, it is interesting that according to Europol, a report titled "Why is cash still a king?" says this country is responsible for printing the form of money favored by all criminals around the world.
In fact, a recent Chainanalysis report, revealed that good ol' fiat money outpaces Bitcoin 800:1 for money laundering, something the government knows but doesn't care as much about divulging.
These three traffickers should be very worried because they practically lost their properties; however, it would be a pity for OFAC if they decided to change their crypto wallet addresses and move on with their business.
It would also be sad if they decided to use a coin mixer/tumbler to redistribute their funds, or even trade on decentralized exchanges instead of hodling those tokens on a single crypto wallet address. Worse still, if they used Monero (XMR) or any other crypto with similar technology right away instead of Bitcoin, it would be very, very bad for the authorities. In the link below you can have more information about the strenghts/weaknesses of these methods
Still, it is quite hard to explain to readers how the U.S. government plans to freeze the funds in the crypto wallet addresses of these criminals. Unless they have a quantum computer to guess the passphrases or have installed some kind of keylogger, this seems more of a symbolic announcement than a reality.