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Monday, December 6th, 2021

Sens. Whitehouse, Hassan introduce amendment to fight drug financing schemes

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U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced Tuesday that they had introduced an amendment to the national defense bill that will strengthen and coordinate the federal government’s response to drug financing schemes.

The Not Allowing Revenue for Criminal Organizations (NARCO) Act would also authorize assistance to states to tackle money laundering related to the sale of narcotics.

“Traffickers need to move money in order to move drugs. That’s why our national drug control strategy needs a top-to-bottom plan for addressing traffickers’ financial networks,” Whitehouse said. “This legislation will help federal authorities synchronize efforts to tackle traffickers’ financial networks, including a thorough review of enforcement efforts and help for states to address complex money laundering schemes. Those are important steps in America’s work to dismantle sophisticated drug financing.”

The legislation would take several steps to address drug trafficking organizations’ financing, including amending the definition of “supply reduction” in the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) authorization to include activities to map, track, dismantle and disrupt the financial networks of drug trafficking organizations; require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the number and status of investigations and prosecutions of drug trafficking organizations and the amount of money the federal government seizes from drug traffickers annually; authorize a new Department of Justice grant program to develop state laws to address money laundering practices; and authorize $80 million of DOJ to provide training, technical assistance, and mentorship.

“Cracking down on money laundering is key to stopping drug cartels,” Hassan said. “This commonsense measure will make sure we track the money behind cartels’ drug operations and ensure that states have the resources they need to go after the cartels that are pushing addictive and lethal drugs into our communities. I will continue working with Senator Whitehouse to get this important measure into law.”