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Treasury Sanctions Tren de Aragua as a Transnational Criminal Organization

Treasury Sanctions Tren de Aragua as a Transnational Criminal Organization

Washington — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tren de Aragua, a Venezuela-based transnational criminal organization that is expanding throughout the Western Hemisphere and engaging in diverse criminal activities, such as human smuggling and trafficking, gender-based violence, money laundering, and illicit drug trafficking.

“Today’s designation of Tren de Aragua as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization underscores the escalating threat it poses to American communities,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to target Transnational Criminal Organizations, we will deploy all tools and authorities against organizations like Tren de Aragua that prey on vulnerable populations to generate revenue, engage in a range of criminal activities across borders, and abuse the U.S. financial system.”

TREN DE ARAGUA

From its origins as a prison gang in Aragua, Venezuela, Tren de Aragua has quickly expanded throughout the Western Hemisphere in recent years. With a particular focus on human smuggling and other illicit acts that target desperate migrants, the organization has developed additional revenue sources through a range of criminal activities, such as illegal mining, kidnapping, human trafficking, extortion, and the trafficking of illicit drugs such as cocaine and MDMA. 

Tren de Aragua poses a deadly criminal threat across the region. For example, Tren de Aragua leverages its transnational networks to traffic people, especially migrant women and girls, across borders for sex trafficking and debt bondage. When victims seek to escape this exploitation, Tren de Aragua members often kill them and publicize their deaths as a threat to others. 

As Tren de Aragua has expanded, it has opportunistically infiltrated local criminal economies in South America, established transnational financial operations, laundered funds through cryptocurrency, and formed ties with the U.S.-sanctioned Primeiro Comando da Capital, a notorious organized crime group in Brazil.

Tren de Aragua was sanctioned today pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, as amended by E.O. 13863, for being a foreign person that constitutes a significant transnational criminal organization.  

Additionally, the U.S. Department of State announced reward offers totaling up to $12 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of several Tren de Aragua leaders for conspiring to participate in, or attempting to participate in, transnational organized crime.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated entity 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 exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. U.S. persons may face civil or criminal penalties for violations of OFAC’s regulations.

View more information on the entity designated today.

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2459

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