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FinCEN Exchange in Los Angeles brings together public – private sectors to combat Fentanyl trafficking

LOS ANGELES, USA – The US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on February 5, convened a FinCEN Exchange, a voluntary public-private partnership, to share strategic and operational information to combat illicit financial networks that enable fentanyl trafficking.

In addition to other lines of effort, the Exchange supports Treasury’s Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force, which launched in December 2023 to bring together personnel, expertise, intelligence, and resources across key Treasury offices to combat the flow of deadly fentanyl into communities throughout the United States. It is the third fentanyl-related FinCEN Exchange in a series specifically aimed at engaging with regional financial institutions across the United States.

Co-hosted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the FinCEN Exchange included representatives from the financial industry, as well as regional and national law enforcement agencies such as the US Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, US Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS – Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

FinCEN and law enforcement representatives highlighted the significant value that suspicious activity reports contribute to law enforcement efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking. They also shared views on ways the financial industry can further increase the effectiveness of suspicious activity reporting involving suspected fentanyl trafficking and related money laundering in Southern California and beyond. Similarly, financial institutions shared information on money laundering flows and tactics used by narcotraffickers and their enablers. All participants discussed ways to deepen collaboration and to enhance the value of suspicious activity reporting to counter this threat.

This event continues a series of FinCEN Exchanges on fentanyl trafficking and related funds flows, including two in 2023, in San Antonio, Texas and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Treasury Department has long recognized the threat from money laundering linked to drug trafficking.

The department is a key implementer of the president’s National Drug Control Strategy, which identifies countering illicit finance as a critical pillar to degrade and disrupt transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that traffic these drugs. In December, Secretary Yellen traveled to Mexico City, Mexico to further close cooperation with Mexican government counterparts on fentanyl trafficking.

FinCEN continues to call on financial institutions to monitor for and report suspicious activity related to the trafficking of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and other synthetic opioids, including on the basis of its 2019 advisory to financial institutions on the subject.

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