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Homeland Security, Financial Services Republicans Probe DHS & Treasury’s Efforts to Combat Illicit Financing for Cartels, Terrorists 

August 1, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) and Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding the disruption of illicit financing of transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and terrorists amid the national security crisis created by the porous Southwest border. Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz (R-TX) also co-signed the letter.
The two Committees request information on ongoing efforts by the Biden administration to combat this evolving threat by nefarious actors, especially the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) contribution to our nation’s unprecedented fentanyl epidemic through Mexican cartels, and to assist the Homeland Security Committee’s continued oversight work regarding the border crisis.

In the letter, the Members state, “The Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Financial Services are examining federal efforts to address the persistent and evolving threat of illicit finance by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and terrorists. We write to request additional information about the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) and the Department of Treasury’s efforts to track and disrupt these criminal financing activities.”

The Members continue, “Illicit financial activity is a major homeland security threat that enables corruption, terrorism, and an ever-increasing drug trade. The fentanyl crisis could not continue at its current rate without the financial support of ongoing Chinese-Mexican money laundering schemes occurring within the United States.”
The Members conclude, “[T]he Treasury Department in their February 2022 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, outlined a several step process in which Chinese money launderers repatriate drug profits to narco-trafficking organizations ‘at lower fees than traditional money brokers” and “provide insurance against losses, in that they will still pay out even if the funds are lost due to theft or interdiction by law enforcement.’ Then, on July 12, 2023, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned 10 individuals, including a number of Sinaloa Cartel members and fugitives, and a Mexico-based entity for their role in a major illicit fentanyl trafficking network.”
Read the full letter here.

Last month, Rep. Pfluger led a bipartisan CODEL to Latin America, including the Darien region of Panama, where he met with national security and law enforcement leaders to discuss the growing and complicated influence of the CCP in the region, the evolving threat of TCOs, and the migration crisis. On June 7, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence held a hearing to examine the threats posed to the U.S. homeland by TCOs, including testimony from a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent.