U.S. Department of Treasury Targets Narcotics Traffickers and Their Supporters Using Enhanced Counter Narcotics Authorities

President’s Executive Order Provides New Tools to Counter Evolving Threats 

Washington, December 15, 2021: Combating narcotics trafficking is a core element of law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Brazil. Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to modernize the U.S. Department of Treasury’s sanctions authorities used to combat the illicit drug trade, and the Department of Treasury designed 25 actors, including a criminal organization in Brazil. This E.O. enables Treasury to sanction foreign persons who knowingly receive property that constitutes, or is derived from, proceeds of illicit drug trafficking activities. Pursuant to the E.O., the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 25 actors in four countries engaging in, or attempting to engage in, activities or transactions that materially contributed to, or pose a significant risk of materially contributing to, the international proliferation of illicit drugs or their means of production. These sanctions severely limit the ability of these entities or individuals to utilize the U.S. financial system or engage with other U.S. persons or entities to conduct their activities and are a significant tool to disrupt the financial activities of criminal organizations. The Brazilian entity designated in this action, the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), operates one of the world’s largest cocaine trafficking rings.

Brazilian Entity Designated: Primeiro Comando Da Capital (PCC) is the most powerful organized crime group in Brazil and among the most powerful in the world. PCC arose in Sao Paulo in the 1990s and has forged a bloody path to dominance through drug trafficking, as well as money laundering, extortion, murder-for-hire, and drug debt collection. The PCC operates throughout South America, and its operations reach the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“The illicit drug trade threatens national security, economy, communities, and families”, said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “Using President Biden’s new E.O., Treasury will deploy its sanctions authority with greater speed, power, and effect across the entire illicit drug ecosystem, especially those who profit from the death and misery of the opioid epidemic. We will continue working closely with our partners to reduce threats from these groups and disrupt their business models, including by stopping them from using the U.S. financial system.”

As a result of today’s action, all property, and interests in property of the designated individuals or entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. Violations of these sanctions may result in the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

The United States is committed to ongoing strong cooperation with Brazilian authorities in the effort to limit and dismantle narcotrafficking activities affecting both countries and the region.