Warren prods drug agencies about crypto links to fentanyl trade

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United States Senator Elizabeth Warren is demanding an update from drug agencies about their latest findings and efforts around the use of crypto in the illicit fentanyl market.

“[We] seek an update on the Biden Administration’s actions to crack down on drug traffickers’ exploitation of crypto to grow their business and launder their ill-gotten gains,” Senators Warren and William Cassidy wrote in a May 29 letter.

The letter, addressed to Office of National Drug Control Policy director Rahul Gupta and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s administrator Anne Melissa Milgram reiterated their long-running claim that cryptocurrencies have “played an increasingly prominent role” in the fentanyl trade, with much of it ending up in the United States for consumption.

Warren and Cassidy want the agencies to answer by June 14 about how significant a role they think cryptocurrency plays in drug trafficking, what new initiatives will be implemented in the next 12 months, and what metrics will be used to measure the success in combating illicit cryptocurrency use in the fentanyl trade.

“What challenges do your offices face in their efforts to prevent cryptocurrency’s use in illegal drug transactions,” the two Senators also asked.

Source: Elizabeth Warren

In making their case, the Senators cited a May 2023 investigation that found about 80 Chinese companies supplying fentanyl precursors received nearly $30 million in cryptocurrency payments.

“[This is] enough to purchase the necessary precursors to produce a staggering $54 billion worth of fentanyl pills.”

Related: Crypto users fooled by fake Elizabeth Warren letter proposing crypto tax

Warren has been previously criticized for citing misconstrued data in her anti-crypto agenda.

In a letter addressing illicit cryptocurrency activity, Warren cited an October 2023 article by The Wall Street Journal, which miscited the extent to which Hamas used cryptocurrency to fund its terrorism activities related to the Israel-Palestine war.

Warren didn’t make a public response on the miscited data despite the WSJ later correcting it.

U.S. attorney and XRP advocate John Deaton is looking to take Warren’s seat in the Senate for Massachusetts seat in the coming months.

“I relish the day that I stand on a stage with her and we talk about income inequality [and] the opioid problem,” Deaton said at Consensus.

Magazine: Opinion: GOP crypto maxis almost as bad as Dems’ ‘anti-crypto army’