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Fact Sheet: Overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act

June 01, 2001


The Administration has released the names of drug traffickers against whom the President has determined to impose sanctions pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (21 U.S.C. 1901-1908, 8 U.S.C. 1182). The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the "Kingpin Act?") targets, on a worldwide basis, significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their organizations, and operatives.


The Kingpin Act is the result of legislation originally introduced by Senators Coverdell and Feinstein. Its purpose is to deny significant foreign narcotics traffickers, their related businesses, and their operatives access to the U.S. financial system and all trade and transactions involving U.S. companies and individuals. The Kingpin Act authorizes the President to take these actions when he determines that a foreign narcotics trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. Congress modeled the Kingpin Act after the effective sanctions program that the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") administers against the Colombian drug cartels pursuant to Executive Order 12978 issued in October 1995 under authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA").


The Kingpin Act requires that the Departments of Treasury, Justice, State, and Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency, coordinate to identify proposed kingpins for designation by the President. By June 1 each year, the President is required to report to specified congressional committees those "foreign persons [he] determines are appropriate for sanctions" and detailing publicly his intent to impose sanctions upon those foreign persons pursuant to the Act. While this is a recurring annual requirement, the President may designate significant foreign narcotics traffickers at any time.

The long-term effectiveness of the Kingpin Act is enhanced by the Department of the Treasury's authority (in consultation with the Departments of Justice, State, and Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration) to make derivative designations as in OFAC's program against the drug cartels in Colombia. This authority broadens the scope of application of the economic sanctions against designated kingpins to include their businesses and operatives. In addition, designated individuals and immediate family members who have knowingly benefited from the designated individuals' illicit activity will be denied visas to the United States.

The Kingpin Act provides for criminal penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for individuals and up to a $10 million fine for entities for violations, as well as a maximum of 30 years imprisonment and/or a $5 million fine for officers, directors or agents of entities who knowingly participate in violations. The Kingpin Act also provides for civil penalties of up to $1 million.


The foreign persons that the President has determined are appropriate for sanctions pursuant to the Kingpin Act are: Osiel Cardenas Guillen; Miguel Caro Quintero; Joaquin Guzman Loera; Ismael Higuera Guerrero; Oscar Malherbe de Leon; Alcides Ramon Magana; Jose Alvarez Tostado; Sher Afghan; Nasir Ali Khan; Chang Ping Yun; Jamil Hamieh; and Joseph Gilboa. These names are being added to the list of initial designations pursuant to the Kingpin Act announced in June 2000. The initial designations were: Benjamin Alberto Arellano-Felix; Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix; Jose de Jesus Amezcua-Contreras; Luis Ignacio Amezcua-Contreras; Rafael Caro-Quintero; Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes; Chang Chi-Fu; Wei Hsueh-Kang; Noel Timothy Heath; Glenroy Vingrove Matthews; Abeni 0. Ogungbuyi; and Oluwole A. Ogungbuyi.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Overview of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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